North Texas

BBB Warns Crooks Could Target Dreamers

Young undocumented immigrants are waiting for lawmakers to finalize what will happen to DACA. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program let undocumented immigrants brought to America as children apply for work permits every two years.

Now, its future is in limbo. As the stories dominate the news, con artists are noticing and using the political drama to trick people out of their money.

Grisel Villareal is one of many North Texans born in another country and brought here as a minor. She could face deportation now that the DACA program is ending.

She feels her life is on pause now, and doesn't know what's next. That type of fear is one of the basic things crooks look for to take advantage of someone.

Michael Sedio with the Better Business Bureau is putting out a warning about people pretending to be legal experts, charging for free paperwork, or worse.

"We see that with senior citizens especially, we're going to see that with immigrants. They're going after people who are especially vulnerable, and that is, in a word, despicable," said Sedio.

There are no specific threats right now, but the Better Business Bureau fully expects an uptick in these types of crimes as the DACA debate continues.

Police say threats and extortion happen frequently with crooks trying to intimidate immigrants. Using topics that are frequently in the news help legitimize their bogus and sometimes outrageous threats.

The best advice is to slow down and think before handing over large amounts of cash. As new stories and concerns surrounding the end of DACA continue, experts say you have to make smart choices.

“There's a lot of things going on that people might be afraid of, but don't let that fear make you make a bad decision," said Seido.

Look up professional licenses for people who offer to help and also seek free legal assistance.

Below are places you can find legal assistance with immigration matters:

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
(214) 855-0520
2501 Oak Lawn Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Dallas Bar Association LegalLine
(214) 220-7476
2101 Ross Avenue
Dallas, TX 75201

East Dallas Counseling Center
(214) 821-5393
4144 North Central Expwy
Dallas, TX 75204

Mosaic Family Services
4144 N. Central Expwy
Dallas, TX 75204

Catholic Charities Immigration Counseling Services Pro Bono Project
(214) 946-4889
325 W 12th St.
Dallas, TX 75208

Catholic Charities of Dallas Immigration and Legal Services
(214) 520-6590
9461 LBJ Freeway
Dallas, TX 75243

Peace and Justice Immigration Clinic
(214) 381-0901
6670 Military Pkwy
Dallas, TX 75228

Justice for Our Neighbors
8301 Bruton Rd.
Dallas, TX 75217

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