US Embassy anti-fraud exec warns visa applicants vs ‘expediters, fixers’
MANILA, Philippines — Applicants who would provide false documents to support their visa applications may permanently lose their eligibility to travel to the United States, an official of the US Embassy in Manila said as he warned the public from “expediters” and “fixers” of civil documents.
“Beware of using services of expediters who would offer to get you a birth certificate or a death certificate quicker than normally would going through the official channels,” the embassy’s Fraud Prevention Manager, Leon Gendin, said in a press conference on Thursday.
“So beware of that service because often we’ve seen instances [where] those expediters, those fixers would provide a fake document with or without the knowledge of the applicant,” he added.
Gendin reminded that providing falsified documents “may result to permanent ineligibility for that applicant to ever travel to the United States.”
He noted that most fraud cases involving visa applications are those in the temporary travel or tourist visa category.
“But also, we see some fraud on an immigrant visa category and that usually involves document fraud,” he added.
“We do see cases where the applicants providing fraudulently issued or fake death or birth certificates for example, to support their applications and that’s something we take very seriously,” he further said.
According to Gendin, the embassy’s consular officers are “well-trained” in identifying fraud and fraudulent documents.
“We can easily verify authenticity of documents that we see presented to us. So from that perspective, I think the success rate is very high in recognizing…fraud during visa application process,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kimberly Kelly, Deputy Consul General at the US Embassy, said Philippine government agencies have also given them trainings that provides them with a better grasp and understanding of Philippine documents and passports.
“In the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, we not only offer and provide training to a whole host of different Philippine government agencies and law enforcement here on the US visa and the US passport, we also received training from your government offices on Philippine documents and Philippine passports so that our officers are better equipped with that knowledge when they’re looking at documents during the interview,” she said.
Thursday’s press conference marked the embassy’s 14th media event on raising awareness on visa fraud and scams.
“That is the goal essentially of this informational campaign, we want to make sure that the applicants are aware of the scams, they’re aware of the risk of using visa fixers,” Gendin said. /jpv
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