Almost one million apostilles are processed every year in the United States alone. As the world becomes more and more global, citizens are doing business, retiring, relocating, and adopting children in foreign countries. And doing so usually requires getting relevant documents apostilled.
Unfortunately, where there is money involved, thieves and con-artists will arise to the occasion. And this has happened with the numerous apostille services which are mostly advertised online.
Usually, a fake apostille service will con you one of two ways:
- They will simply take your money and important documents (which you mail to them) and never deliver on their promise.
- They will return your documents with counterfeit apostille seals and you won’t be the wiser until you try to pass those documents onto a foreign government or agency.
The real catch here is that many of the faux operations are located outside of the U.S., sometimes in Britain or other parts of Europe. Therefore, the victim’s recourse is very limited.
Protect yourself by making sure the company is operating within the United States. There is no purpose in sending your important documents (sometimes costly and difficult to obtain themselves) overseas only for that company to turn around send them to an apostille office back in the U.S. anyway.
Yes, there can be legitimate companies operating overseas, but if you happen to choose a fake one, you won’t have much of recourse if they are out of the U.S.
How long has the apostille service been in business? Look at the length of time their website has been up, who it’s registered to, and if there are any online (unbiased) referrals from people who have used them. U.S. expat chat groups are helpful for this since most of their members have gone through the same process getting apostilles.
Is the site a copy of another legitimate site? Look at the spelling of the URL. Is it close to the wording of another popular site? Sometime thieves will try and look just like a legitimate site but direct payments to a different address. (If the apostille service is doing business in the U.S., contact their local Better Business Bureau and see if there are any complaints.)
Lastly, if the apostille service will only take wire transfers, that is definitely a strong clue it might be fraudulent.
Be aware and vigilant and you shouldn’t have any problems choosing a legitimate apostille service. And if you want to be 100 percent safe, consider handling your documents yourself. That way you’re absolutely certain they make it to the correct government office and receive legitimate apostilles.
If you’re unsure how to do this, I’ve written a step-by-step guide to obtain your apostilles yourself, fast, securely and for hundreds less than any legitimate service will offer. You can check it out here at texas apostille service