Scammers are contacting residents in Highland Park and Highwood, claiming to be representatives of the Mexican consulate. They are offering extended visas, particularly "U Visas," which are intended for victims of violent crimes.
The special visa grants individuals legal status for four years, while they obtain citizenship. The scammers are asking for a fee to secure this documentation.
Residents say they have been contacted by phone and right at their door.
"Immigrants are an easy target for scammers, especially undocumented immigrants," said Esteban Carbajal, a senior staff attorney for the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic. "In this case, they are taking advantage of their vulnerability and, in the moment, people are suffering from trauma."
The Consul General said the consulate will not reach out directly to people to offer visa assistance. If residents need help, they can contact the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, a licensed immigration attorney or a representative with the Department of Justice.
On Tuesday, a resource navigation center opened at Lincoln Elementary School in Highland Park and at the Highwood Library, where residents can also seek assistance.