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Beware of visa scams

 Question:

I’ve re­ceived an e-mail saying that I am a Diversity Visa lottery winner. In the e-mail, there are instructions to send money to an account number. This seems strange to me, but the e-mail says that it’s coming from the US State Department and there is a deadline to pay. Should I send the money?


Answer: 

Thank you for your question, and no, you should not send the money! The Diversity Visa Lottery Programme, often called the Green Card lottery, makes available up to 55,000 immigrant visas annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements. 

Each year, scammers try to extort money from hopeful applicants. You are among many people who receive fake e-mails or letters from opportunists, claiming you have won the Diversity Visa Lottery Programme. Please forward any such e-mails to Consularpos@state.gov.

Individuals are advised to be extremely wary of any e-mails requesting them to send money, especially if you are unable to verify the source of the e-mail. For those who have entered the Diversity Visa Lottery, you are reminded the US Department of State will never notify you of your success in the lottery by e-mail or letter. In fact, there is only one way to check the status of your entry to see if you were selected as a winner.

If you entered the 2015 DV Lottery Programme, which was open for entry during October and November last year, then you will need to check the status of your application online on the only official DV lottery website at: http://www.dvlottery.state.gov. The period to check your status for the 2015 programme begins on May 1, 2014. If you followed the entry instructions carefully, then you should already have your unique confirmation number saved and ready to check your entry status come May 1. The US Embassy cannot look this number up for you.

Another important point that can help you avoid becoming the victim of a DV scam is there is no cost to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery Programme. The only time you will be requested to pay a fee is when you come to the embassy for the visa interview where you will pay a visa application fee, if you are selected as a lottery winner.

We hope this information helps and good luck with your entry!

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