Immigration scams targeting non-citizens can have devastating impacts on an individual's status and ability to remain in the United States legally. The phenomenon of notario fraud occurs when an individual misrepresents themself as a notario publico in an effort to defraud immigrants seeking legal services. In Spanish-speaking countries, a notario publico is a highly trained legal professional, akin to an attorney, who provides legal advice and drafts legal documents. The term is a false cognate. The English equivalent, a notary, is an individual with narrow witnessing duties and much less discretion. Problems arise when individuals obtain a notary public license in the United States and use that license to substantiate representations that they are a notario publico to immigrant populations that ascribe a vastly different meaning to the term.
Nefarious Notarios: Responding to Immigration Scams as White Collar Crime as a Matter of Public Policy,
Refugee L. & Migration Stud. Brief
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/refugeemigrationstudiesbrief/vol1/iss2/3