The DV Lottery is an exciting opportunity for potential immigrants to win a chance to obtain a coveted green card. Millions of people around the world enter the free drawing hoping to be one of the lucky 50,000 winners.
While there are many legitimate businesses that can help move you through this process, watch out for those that attempt to mislead or scam innocent people out of their money. Beware of potential impostor or fraudulent websites, emails or print advertisements.
Here is an example of an Impostor/Fraudulent Email Scam. We received this email from one of our clients who was suspicious and asked us to check it out.
How Do I Know if U.S. Visa Information Is Official and Correct?
The Department of State, Visa Services advises the public that only internet sites including the ".gov" indicator are official government websites, for our agency offices located in the United States. We are proud to have more than 200 U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide. While many of these Embassy websites have the ".gov" indicator in their internet address, a number do not. The Department of State websites www.state.gov and travel.state.gov link directly to all U.S. Embassy websites abroad at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. You'll find this link of both Department of State websites listed above. This is a useful way for the public to access Consular Section websites. Visa applicants are advised to be cautious in all dealings with companies that claim to offer any assistance in obtaining U.S. visas. Please note the following:
Immigration Related Websites
Many other non-governmental websites (e.g., using the suffixes ".com," ".org" or ".net") provide legitimate and useful immigration and visa related information and services. If payment is requested for information from a non-governmental source, this payment is not received by the U.S. Government and does not apply towards a visa fee. Regardless of the content of other websites, the Department of State does not endorse, recommend or sponsor any information or material shown at these other websites. The information provided may not be correct or up-to-date so should always be verified independently.
Impostor or Fraudulent Websites and Email
A few other websites may try to mislead customers and members of the public into thinking they are official websites. These websites may have a U.S. flag or picture of an official U.S. Government building or famous U.S. person to mislead you into believing that the website is sponsored by the U.S. Government, when they are not. These websites may attempt to require you to pay for services such as forms and information about immigration procedures, which are otherwise free on the Department of State www.state.gov and travel.state.gov websites, or overseas through the Embassy websites. Also, on the Department of Homeland Security websites: www.uscis.gov, www.cbp.gov and www.ice.gov, forms and information are available free of charge. Additionally, these other websites may require you to pay for services you will not receive. These web sites may contact you by email to lure you to take advantage of their false offer to get a U.S. Visa. Additionally, be wary of sending any personal information, since these sites may even be used to gather personal information that could result in identity fraud or theft.
Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Programs and Scams
There have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. Government have sought money in order to "complete" lottery entry forms. To learn more, please see the Federal Trade Commission Warning. The only official way to apply for the DV lottery is directly through the official U.S. Department of State Website during the specified and limited-time registration period. Applicants selected in the Diversity Visa random drawing are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center by letter, NOT email and are provided instructions on how to proceed to the next step in the process. No other organization or private company is authorized by the Department of State to notify Diversity Visa lottery applicants of their winning entry, or the next steps in the processing of applying for their visa.
For more information about international scams involving internet dating, inheritance, work permits, overpayment, and money-laundering please visit the Department of State's International Financial Scams page.
How Do I Report Internet Fraud or Unsolicited Email?
If you wish to file a complaint about Internet fraud, please see the econsumer.gov website, hosted by the Federal Trade Commission, which is a joint effort of consumer protection agencies from 17 nations at http://www.econsumer.gov/english/ or go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). To file a complaint about unsolicited email, contact Department of Justice contact us page.