SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – An increasing number of people in San Francisco’s Latino community are being victimized by individuals providing fraudulent immigration services.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon is now collaborating with community members and met them in the Mission on Tuesday to launch a public awareness campaign.

With immigration reform slowly inching its way through congress, more immigrants are trying to prepare themselves, but the D.A. wants them to protect themselves as well.

A growing number of unscrupulous people are scamming immigrants by taking their money with the promise of putting them at the head of the line for citizenship. The scammers are also known to promise work permits and visas right away, according to Gascon.

“Our message to people is to know your rights, know who to rely on and who to trust and to ask questions to know that you are not victimized,” said Estella Garcia, executive director of Instituto Familiar de la Raza.

Gascon advised that if you’re going to work with someone that you need to verify that they are licensed and that they have the ability to do the work.

“Make sure that if you’re going to get a contract that the contract clearly states what the level of work is going to be done,” he added.

Gascon said many undocumented immigrants are reluctant to report a crime, but he said because San Francisco is a sanctuary city, members of all communities should not fear any reprisals.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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