Got “USAFIS Organization – Diversity Visa (DV) winner” and “U.S. Department of State – Permanent Resident Card for vasya pupkin” e-mails from email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org? Then read the warning on the usembassy.gov web-site:
The U.S. Department of State warns DV lottery applicants:
If you have received an email notifying you that your application for the Diversity Visa (DV) Program has been successful and that in order to proceed with your application you are required to send money to a named individual at the U.S. Embassy in London, you are a victim of a scam.
Successful DV applicants are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) by letter, NOT email and are provided instructions on how to proceed to the next step in the process. The KCC will NOT ask you to send money to them or to this Embassy or any other U.S. Embassy by mail or by services such as Western Union.
For those of you who have applied for DV-2012 official notification of selection will be made on line through the Entry Status Check which will be available from May 1, 2011 on the E-DV website at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov
Remember, successful DV applicants are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center (KCC). No other organization or private company is authorized by the Department of State to notify DV applicants of their winning entry, or the next steps in the processing of applying for their visa.
FTC also alerts consumers:
Diversity Visa Lottery: Read the Rules, Avoid the Rip-Offs
If you or someone you know is trying to get a green card — the right to live in the United States permanently — be on the lookout for unscrupulous businesses and attorneys. They’ll claim that, for a fee, they can make it easier to enter the U. S. State Department’s annual Diversity Visa (DV) lottery (also known as the “green card lottery”) or increase your chances of winning the DV lottery.
Each year, the State Department conducts a lottery through its DV program to distribute applications for 50,000 immigrant visas. Winners of the lottery have a chance to apply for an immigrant visa, which can be used to enter the U. S. Winners are selected randomly, and there is no fee to enter the lottery.
Entries to the DV lottery must be submitted online at www.dvlottery.state.gov. (This site is only accessible during the application period.) Paper entries or mail-in requests will not be accepted. Lottery entrants must include a passport-style digital photograph and separate digital photographs of any spouse and children under 21 years of age. Group photographs are not allowed. Check with the State Department for technical requirements of the digital photograph.
Entries are accepted for a limited time. For the DV-2009 Lottery (to be conducted in 2007), the application period is from October 3, 2007, through December 2, 2007. DV-2009 visas will be issued between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. Check with the State Department for entry dates for future DV lotteries.
Entrants may submit only one entry during any particular DV lottery; those who submit more than one entry will be disqualified. Spouses may submit separate entries, however, if each meets the eligibility requirements. If only one spouse is selected, the other may enter the country on the Diversity Visa of the winning spouse.
The DV lottery has two eligibility requirements:
- The entrant must be from an eligible country. You must have been born in an eligible country, or have parents who were born in eligible countries and who were not residents of your country of birth, when you were born. For example, your parents might have lived temporarily in the ineligible country because of their jobs.
Every year, the State Department announces the countries whose natives are ineligible for application. For the DV-2009 lottery, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories,and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are eligible. Applicants should check with the State Department to determine the ineligible countries for future DV lotteries.
- Entrants must meet an education or training requirement. You will have met the education requirement if you have a high school education or have successfully completed a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education. You will have met the training requirement if you have at least two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. The U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine database will be used to determine qualifying work experience.
Green Card Lottery Scams
According the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, some businesses and attorneys misrepresent their services by saying that:
- they are affiliated with the U.S. government;
- they have special expertise or a special entry form that is required to enter the lottery;
- their company has never had a lottery entry rejected;
- their company can increase an entrant’s chances of “winning” the lottery;
- people from ineligible countries still are “qualified” to enter the lottery.
In addition, some companies jeopardize an entrant’s opportunity to participate in the lottery by filing several entries. These companies also may charge lottery-winning applicants substantial fees to complete the application process.
Protecting Yourself from Fraud
The FTC says the best way to protect against green card lottery scams is to understand how the State Department’s lottery works.
For More Information
For details about the State Department’s Diversity Visa lottery, visit www.dvlottery.state.gov. You also may call the State Department’s Visa Services’ Public Inquiries Branch at 202-663-1225. This number has recorded information with an option to speak with a visa specialist during normal business hours. Those overseas should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Do not just delete e-mails from scammers. Make copies of these e-mails with headers and report the fraud to an U.S. civil or criminal law enforcement agency. You can easily do it online:
How to report a scam or fraud to U.S. government (civil and criminal law enforcement agency) online?