When Immigration Matters

5 Tips to Avoid DV Lottery Scams

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 @ 5:11 PM

We recently blogged about DV Lottery scams making their way around the web.  Apparently, there has been a subsequent wave of new deceptive practices attempting to con innocent people out of their money.dv lottery scams 

Below are 5 more tips for avoiding DV Lottery & Green Card Scams.

1.  CHECK ELIGIBILITY

Natives of many countries are not eligible for this visa program:  "For DV-2012, natives of the following countries were NOT eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:  BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.  Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible..."

So...if you are from any of the countries mentioned above, you know right away that any form of correspondance claiming that you are a lucky green card winner is false! 

Also, before wasting your time applying for DV-2013, make sure to check out the eligibility and other requirements to qualify. For detailed information and instructions, please visit the official U.S. Department of State website:  Information and instructions for  are available on the Travel.State.Gov website.

 

2.  THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT IS THE ONLY OFFICIAL WAY TO APPLY

U.S. Department of State Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery
U.S. Department of State Diversity Visa DV-2012 Instructions

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.

While 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, we strongly recommend going directly to the U.S. Department of State.  Forms and information are available FREE of charge.  We will post the link for Diversity Visa DV-2013 Instructions as soon as it is available.

The English language version is the only official version. However, some unofficial translations in Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, French, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Uzbek were published for DV-2012 and are available.

 

3.   CHECK STATUS

You may check the status of your DV-2012 Lottery entry on or after May 1, 2011 at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov. Click here for detailed information about Entry Status Check, lottery winner notification, and more.  The same will be true for future DV Lotteries.

 

4.  IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT IS!

Offers promising FREE airline tickets from your country to the USA to claim your Green Card fall into this category.

 

5.  WATCH OUT FOR SPAM

Some of the more common fraudulent emails are: usafis.co@post.comusafis_org@post.com, gov.usa.states@usa.com, u.s.states.gov@usa.com, dv.state.gov@usa.com, states.gov.usa@usa.com, usafis.com.com@post.com, and usa.gov.states@usa.com.  By the time you read this post, there will be dozens more.  Just use common sense!

SUMMARY

If you follow these tips, chances are you will avoid becoming an innocent victim of these scams proliferating their way through the Internet.

 

Related Content

Immigration Scam Shut Down By FTC

DV Lottery Scams | Tips To Avoid Getting Scammed!

 

Immigration Scam Shut Down By FTC

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 @ 10:52 PM

Great news following yesterday's blog post on DV Lottery Scams...

Released by the Federal Trade Commission today:

green card lottery scamsAt the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge has shut down an operation that allegedly posed as the U.S. government, then duped consumers into paying fees ranging from $200 to $2,500 by claiming the fees would cover processing by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The court froze the defendants' assets and appointed a receiver to take over the business until the case is resolved. The FTC has asked the court to halt the business practices permanently and order the operation to repay its victims.

The real U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, offers advice and counseling to immigrants in the United States and people seeking to immigrate to the United States. USCIS provides application forms for such benefits as green card renewal, work visas, and applications for asylum. The application forms are free but can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to process.

According to the FTC, defendants Immigration Center and Immigration Forms and Publications, Inc., set up websites that mimic official government sites, and then used the fake sites to steer immigrants to their deceptive telemarketing operation. The websites depicted American eagles, the U.S. flag, and the Statue of Liberty and had URLs such as www.uscis-ins.us and wwww.usgovernmenthelpline.com. The sites directed consumers to call a toll-free number that an automated voice answered, "Immigration Center." Consumers were then transferred to a live person who answered, "USCIS or "U.S. Immigration Center," and identified him or herself as an "agent," "immigration officer," or "caseworker." The sites also offered counseling and application forms. The counseling was done by telemarketers who did not meet legal requirements to provide immigration services, the FTC said.

Continued here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/01/immigration.shtm

DV Lottery Scams | Tips To Avoid Getting Scammed!

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sun, Jan 30, 2011 @ 9:28 PM

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.

 

dv lottery scams

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.

International Scams
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.

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