Beware of Green Card scammers
I got an e-mail saying that I won the Diversity Visa Lottery and was told to send money. Is this a scam? I don't want to miss my opportunity to go to the US because I didn't pay, but I am afraid to send money because I'm not sure if it's a scam. Help!
Hopeful Lottery Winner
Dear Hopeful Lottery Winner:
The Diversity Visa Lottery, 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 that you have won the Diversity Visa Lottery Programme. Here are three key tips to ensure that you will not become a victim.
(1) Submitting an application for the DV Lottery is completely FREE! Fees are not needed to apply for the DV Lottery. Only electronic applications will be accepted via www.dvlottery.state.gov. The application asks questions that you and or your family should know. Therefore, for those people that are unfamiliar, or uncomfortable with computers, we strongly suggest that you seek help, free of charge, from close friends or relatives.
(2) You will never receive an e-mail or letter from the US Government about winning the lottery. The US Department of State does not notify DV applicants by letter or e-mail. To repeat, DV applicants will never receive any sort of e-mail of letter from the US Government stating that they have successfully won the lottery.
We also do not send e-mails or letters stating that you did not win the lottery. Simply put, you will never receive an e-mail or letter from the US Government about the status of your Diversity Visa application. All entrants must check the status of their entries via the website at www.dvlottery.state.gov to find out if their entry was or was not selected.
(3) Fees are only paid at the US Embassy. If you are ever questioning if you are paying the right people, if you are not making a payment to the US Embassy cashier at the US Embassy, it is a scam. Letters or e-mails asking you to send a payment anywhere else is a scam! It is true that DV Lottery winners must pay a fee. However, this fee is only paid on the day of the interview at the US Embassy. So, if you are not paying fees in person at the US Embassy, you are being scammed.
Remembering these three tips will protect you from being a victim of a DV scam. We hope that this helps.
Good luck with the DV Lottery!
US Embassy, Port of Spain