Notary fraud is a common set-up in which notaries unlawfully give legal advice to immigrants, and in many cases, pretend to be immigration attorneys. The scam often involves the notary reviewing a victim’s case, choosing which legal documents are appropriate for their case, helping complete these documents, and submitting them to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Office—all acts only lawyers have the authority to do.

Immigration experts and advocates say that notary fraud is one of the biggest issues facing the undocumented community. “It is also a big problem in the East Bay and surrounding areas in Northern California,” said Barbara Pinto, an immigration senior staff attorney at the Centro Legal de la Raza, a legal service agency for immigrants’ rights, located in Oakland.

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Martha Benco, an Oakland native, knows what it’s like to rely on the truthfulness of labels and servers when it comes to checking whether there’s gluten in her food. “I have celiac disease,” says Benco, 35, who also has a way to test her food now. Benco says she’s been lucky so far—though she does…

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Four gamers huddled around a television playing "Super Slam Dunk Touchdown" at Reddit HQ.

The gamers’ cries were punctuated by clocks of game controllers, flips of cards and a crackle of pizza crusts—all part of the soundtrack at Reddit on November 7 as the social networking and news site participated in Extra Life’s 24-hour Game Day to raise money for Children’s Hospital Oakland.

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