Diversity Visa Fraud: Beware of Visa Lottery Scams
In recent years there have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. government sites, holding themselves out as being affiliated with the U.S. Department of State's annual Diversity Visa Lottery. As it turns out, these sites are engaging in diversity visa fraud, hoping to cash in by taking advantage of immigrants.
The Department of State, Visa Services has advised the public that only internet sites including the ".gov" indicator are official government Websites, for agency offices located in the United States. Visa applicants are advised to be cautious in all dealings with companies that claim to offer any assistance in obtaining U.S. visas.
This article focuses on the problem of diversity visa fraud. See FindLaw's Visas section for additional articles and resources.
Impostor or Fraudulent Immigration Websites and Email
A few privately-operated websites may try to mislead customers and members of the public into thinking they are official government websites. 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 website, or overseas through the Embassy Consular Section Websites. 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 their offer. Be wary of sending any personal information that might be used for identity fraud/theft to these websites.
Fraudulent Diversity Visa Program Websites
Specifically, there have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. government sites and offering the public to apply to the Diversity Visa Program. Some companies posing as U.S. Government have sought money in order to "complete" applications. It should be noted that applicants selected in the Diversity Visa random drawing are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center, to proceed to the next steps in visa processing. No other organization or office is authorized by the Department of State to notify Diversity Visa program applicants.
If you have additional questions or believe you were the victim of diversity visa fraud, consider speaking with an immigration attorney in your area.