More and more Albanian citizens are being targeted by Albanian scammers in Bulgaria
We are receiving more and more alarming reports from Albanians who are trying to obtain Bulgarian residence permit or citizenship. Some of them have initially used the services of Albanian agents. Others have been approached by Albanians at a later stage in Bulgaria. All of them however have been scammed.
Albanian scammers promising to arrange Bulgarian residence card and even Bulgarian citizenship.
Scammers are everywhere, but the amount of complains we receive from Albanians is really worrying.
Basically the scams are quite simple and straightforward. The victim is offered unbeatable conditions and “guarantees” that he will obtain residence or citizenship. He is told that the “Albanian agent” knows some people in Bulgaria and is “well connected”.
All that is of course nonsense. At the end, the victim gets nothing and all the money is gone. Or worse…
Things can get ugly for some of the victims
In 80% of the cases, the story ends when the victim doesn’t get his residence card or citizenship certificate (or certificate for Bulgarian origin). In the other 20% however, things get really ugly (and dangerous).
Namely, the victims are being given fake documents. In most cases, these are “certificates for Bulgarian origin”. Fake Bulgarian ID cards and passports are also often being given as “proof of service”.
Why are the scammers striking Albanians so often and how to spot them?
The most important characteristic of the scammers is that they offer services that are just too “good to be true”.
Some examples of “suspicious offers”
Let’s see how well prepared are you, the reader. Can you tell which of the following offers are genuine?
1. Bulgarian citizenship from 2500 EUR in 6 months – guaranteed
2. Citizenship by origin for Albanians – guaranteed approval
3. Bulgarian long term and permanent residence without visiting Bulgaria
4. Citizenship by investment in real estate for 300 000 EUR, approval in only one year
So what do you think? Which one is genuine? Or rather, which is misleading? Well, these are all fakes.
No citizenship procedure can be guaranteed. Let alone in 6 months. In general, if you are ever offered “guarantee” for the (timely) outcome, this is illegal. Bulgarian citizenship by investment is generally the fastest. By law (in theory) it can be applied for in 12 months time after permanent residence has been obtained. In real-life, it takes longer of course. Then we have citizenship for special merits, which may be even faster, but in no way guaranteed. And then of course, there is citizenship by origin, which is the bait for most of the Albanians. Neither of these can be “guaranteed”.
Visiting Bulgaria to apply for and obtain ID card
The best curtain of smoke for the scammers is not to let you come personally to Bulgaria. This is one shot two kills approach. First, you will get your fake ID document delivered to your home. So the scammers will not need to organize their people to run in and out of the immigration office to bring you your fake id card. Secondly, without requirement to travel to Bulgaria, the whole procedure becomes faster and easier for the victim.
The truth is however that without a visit to Bulgaria, after obtaining visa D, no residence card may be issued.
Citizenship by origin for everyone
Albanians, Macedonians, Ukrainians, they all fall for that. The scammers promise that “everyone can be made Bulgarian”. This is fraud, even to offer it. Run away from anything like that. We estimate that the number of fake certificates for Bulgarian origin is larger than the amount of fake Bulgarian 100 lev bills.
Citizenship by investment, but investment in what?
Bulgarian citizenship by investment is the hot ticket in the last 5 years or so. But the required investment is 2 million Bulgarian leva (1024000 EUR). On top of that, it may not be in real estate. The investment needs to be done in Bulgarian government bonds, public shares, etc. No real estate though (see the remark below).
All offers for Bulgarian citizenship by investment that promise you citizenship against an investment of less than 2 million BGN, are misleading, least to say.
Remark: Although real estate is not allowed as an investment, through some legal “adjustments” one can indirectly invest in real estate and still fulfill the legal requirement to buy bonds or shares. This is however extremely complicated legal procedure that requires huge legal experience. Therefore, any such offers should be approached with extreme caution.
And why are the Albanians so frequently being targeted and scammed
We think it is because there are just way too many Albanian “agents” operating in Bulgaria. And they are very, very bold.
How to spot the fake “agents”
They are not authorized and many are not even registered. They either have no office or are using one “common office” to show some “credibility”. There are many such offices in Sofia, being used by illegal “agents” who share the same premises with many others. In this way, the victim gets an impression that there is a lot of work being done in the office. Unfortunately, at the end, when he goes back to the office to find his “agent”, he realizes that all this has been a scam.
What to do if you are scammed?
If you believe you are a victim of a scam, we recommend contacting the police immediately. If you have obtained fake (id) documents, you may be criminally prosecuted though. For any doubts about your rights and obligations, we urge you to contact us or VD&A accordingly.