In response to fraud from the American Immigration Center, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending out refunds for those defrauded, according to a press release.
The FTC will issue 4,976 refund checks and 44,136 PayPal payments to victims, totaling over $2 million to help make them whole.
The fraud reportedly started in 2010, according to the FTC, when the company falsely implied it was affiliated with the U.S. government in order to sell immigration paper prep services to customers. Many of those customers had been trying to reach the actual government website in order to renew a green card or apply for naturalization.
Victims didn’t realize their mistake until they had already agreed to pay the American Immigration Center hundreds of dollars.
The consent order which settled the matter required the American Immigration Center to cease running their fraudulent activity and, in the future, to state plainly for everyone that the company is not affiliated with the U.S. government. There was also a $2.2 million judgment passed down against the company, which will go toward refunding the victims.
Consumers who receive the FTC checks should cash or deposit them within 60 days, which is written on the checks as well. For those who don’t have a mailing address with the FTC, the agency will issue a PayPal-based refund, which consumers will have 30 days to claim.
Analytics Inc., which handles the refunds for this matter, began sending the checks on Monday (March 2) for $42.71 each.
In another recent FTC-related refund, the agency compensated victims of a tech support scam, sending out $1.7 million in total to all the victims. The case involved a scheme tricking customers into purchasing tech support by falsely alerting them to purported malware or viruses. The FTC said it would provide 57,960 refunds with an average of approximately $30 to each of the scam’s victims.