The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 4,976 refund checks and sending 44,136 PayPal payments totaling over $2 million to consumers allegedly defrauded by American Immigration Center.
According to the FTC, starting in 2010, the company falsely implied that its websites were affiliated with the U.S. government to sell immigration form preparation services to consumers, many of whom were trying to reach the actual government site to renew their green cards or apply for naturalization. Consumers often did not realize that they were not on a government website until they had already paid the defendants $120 to $300.
The consent order settling the Commission’s charges banned the defendants from engaging in the illegal conduct alleged in the complaint and required defendants to clearly disclose that their websites are not affiliated with the government. It also imposed a $2.2 million judgment to provide refunds to allegedly defrauded consumers.
Consumers who receive a check from the FTC should deposit or cash the check within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC is also sending refund payments via PayPal to consumers for whom the agency does not have a mailing address. Consumers will have 30 days to accept the PayPal payment. The FTC’s related FAQ provides more details about how the refund process will work.
Analytics, Inc., the refund administrator for this matter, will begin mailing checks today. The refund amount for each consumer is $42.71. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information to cash refund checks. Consumers who have questions about the mailing should call Analytics, Inc. at 1-877-729-1539.
The FTC provides tips for consumers on how to spot immigration-related scams. You can find this information on our consumer blog, business blog, and consumer webpage for avoiding scams against immigrants.
The FTC’s new interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of refunds, as well as refund programs from other FTC cases.