Debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams since 2003!


Hoax-Slayer Logo Hoax-Slayer Logo

DividerDivider
Home    About    New Articles    RSS Feed    Subscriptions    Contact
DividerDivider
Bookmark and Share









Diversity Visa Lottery Green Card Scam

Outline
Email claims that the recipient has won a United States Permanent Resident Card through Diversity Visa Lottery but is required to pay processing fees via Western Union before the visa can be issued.



Brief Analysis
This is a scam email designed to trick visa applicants into sending money to Internet criminals. The Diversity Immigrant Visa program itself is real, but this message does not originate with the U.S. Department of State as claimed in the message and it is not an official Diversity Visa Lottery notification.

Bookmark and Share
Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 4th June 2011
First published: 4th June 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
U.S. Department of State sent this message to [Name Removed]


Your registered name is included to show this message originated from U.S. Department of State. Congratulations, you've won !


Dear [Name Removed],

Congratulations on winning a United States Permanent Resident Card through Diversity Visa Lottery. Selection guarantees that you will receive a United States Permanent Resident Card(also known as Green Card or Diversity Visa) only if you follow the instructions for further processing. Follow the instruction below to pay the processing fees and start the integration process in the United States as soon as possible.

Acceptance Date: Sunday 22nd of May 2011 10:01:02 AM

Winner Name: [Removed]

Country of Birth: South Africa

Phone Number:

Is the Diveristy Visa FREE ?

No. There is a big confusion. Only the participation in the Diversity Visa Lottery was free but the winners must pay the visa processing fees. The fees are collected by Embassy or Consulate abroad, Department of Homeland Security's, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The fee is also used to prove your identity and express your interest in the U.S visa so we can make all the demands required for your relocation in the United States.

Fees:

Type of Residence Card Status Price (per person)
United States Permanent Resident Card Granted! - Waiting for payment of processing fee $880
Subtotal: $880
Processing fees Included
Total $880

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM

You have been selected at random from over 12.1 million qualified entries (16.5 million with derivatives) received.The diversity lottery was conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

With the Diversity Visa (also known as Green Card) you will enjoy all the advantages and benefits of a US permanent resident, including:
Health Insurance: Freedom HSA Direct Individual Helth insurance for 1 year
Dwelling: Apartment in New York, Queens(1 bedroom) for 3 months
Guaranteed job: A job in the field that you are are currently qualified so you can start working even from the first week you arrive in the United States and get paid as U.S citizen.

Education: Education for U.S. Students or Higher Education through EducationUSA. It includes transfer to a U.S college or Univeristy so you can continue your educational study. More details can be found at http://educationusa.state.gov/.

The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements.The Department of State implemented the electronic fees processing system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure.

The fees must be paid using Western Union money transfer and will be processed by the U.S. embassy in the United Kingdom.
Western Union is a leading provider of International person-to-person money transfer. With more than 150 years experience and 245,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories, Western Union is recognized for sending money quickly, reliably, and safety.

Click on the following link to find the nearest Western Union agency and send the fees payment (U.S $880 or equivalent local currency.)
Find Western Union Agency
If you are unable to find a Western Union agency near your location, you may ask a relative or friend to pay the fee on your behalf.

Please note that you are allowed to take with you as many family members you want. However for each person you must pay an additional amount of U.S $880

For example if you decide to move in the United States with your wife and a kid the total fee is US$880(your fee) + US$880(your wife) + US$880(your kid) = US$1320.
If you want to move alone the fee is as stated above only US$880
After you send the payment follow the next steps :
Email at dv@stategov-us.com with the following details (you can find them on the money transfer receipt):

1) Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN):
2) Exact sender's name on file with Western Union:
3) Exact sender's address on file with Western Union:
4) Amount sent:

Then wait for the confirmation that the payment was received. Within 72 hours, you will receive a confirmation via email with your Case Number/Confirmation Number and exact date and time when you will receive your documents and travel information to move in the United States.

Please send the payment to the U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom:
Paul Maher
24 Grosvenor Square
London, W1A 2LQ
United Kingdom

Why to send the payment fees in the United Kingdom ?
The payment must be sent to U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom because the U.S government decided this based on its international policy and the relations with your country.

Notice The payment must be sent via Western Union no later than 15 June 2011. You are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last day to pay. Heavy demand may result in system delays.
Under no circumstances can diversity visas be issued or adjustments approved after this date, nor can family members obtain diversity visas to follow-to-join the principal applicant in the U.S. after this date.
The visa processing fee(US$ 879) is mandatory for each person and the U.S. Government doesn't offer any discount, loan or exception.
You have been selected winner of the Diversity Visa lottery so the visa is guaranteed upon receiving the payment fees on time.
A hard copy of this letter will be mailed to your postal address upon receiving the payment fees.
Please be advised that even through you are a winner of Diveristy Visa your Case Number/Confirmation Number will be provided only after you send the payment confirmation of the fees. Please do not contact us to ask for the Case Number/Confirmation Number.

Help


For any questions please contact U.S. Department of State's Customer Support at dv@stategov-us.com

CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT: AUTHORITIES: The information asked for on this form is requested pursuant to Section 222 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Section 222(f) provides that the records of the Department of State and of diplomatic and consular offices of the United States pertaining to the issuance and refusal of visas or permits to enter the United States shall be considered confidential and shall be used only for the formulation, amendment, administration, or enforcement of the immigration, nationality, and other laws of the United States. Certified copies of such records may be made available to a court provided the court certifies that the information contained in such records is needed in a case pending before the court. PURPOSE: The U.S. Department of State uses the facts you provide on this form primarily to determine your classification and eligibility for a U.S. immigrant visa. Individuals who fail to submit this form or who do not provide all the requested information may be denied a U.S. immigrant visa. Although furnishing this information is voluntary, failure to provide this information may delay or prevent the processing of your case. ROUTINE USES: If you are issued an immigrant visa and are subsequently admitted to the United States as an immigrant, the Department of Homeland Security will use the information on this form to issue you a Permanent Resident Card, and, if you so indicate, the Social Security Administration will use the information to issue a social security number. The information provided may also be released to federal agencies for law enforcement, counterterrorism and homeland security purposes; to Congress and courts within their sphere of jurisdiction; and to other federal agencies who may need the information to administer or enforce U.S. laws.

Diversity Visa lottery scam email




Detailed Analysis
According to this email, the recipient has won a United States Permanent Resident Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery. The message claims that the lucky recipient must now send a processing fee of $880 via a Western Union money transfer before the Resident Card will be issued. According to the message, the processing fees must be transferred to the U.S. Embassy in the UK due to US international policy. The message includes seemingly official Department of State logos along with a large amount of detailed information designed to create the impression that the message is a legitimate government document.

However, the claims in the message are false. The email was not sent by the U.S. Department of State as claimed. In fact, the message is an advance fee scam designed to trick Diversity Immigrant Visa applicants into sending money to criminals. The Department of State has published the following warning about such scams on its website:
Diversity Visa Program Scammers Sending Fraudulent Emails and Letters

The Department of State, Office of Visa Services, advises the public of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) program (Visa Lottery) applicants. The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants. All applicants should be familiar with information about DV scams provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Applicants are encouraged to review the rules and procedures for the DV program so that you know what to expect, when to expect it, and from whom.

Finally, remember that all DV-2012 applicants will not receive a notification letter from the U.S. government but must check their status online. DV Entry Status Check will only be provided through the Department of State secure online site, http://www.dvlottery.state.gov.
Any message that claims that the Diversity Visa applicant must sent upfront fees via a wire transfer is sure to be a scam. Information about Diversity Visa Lottery scams published on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website notes:
Do not send fees with your application either online or through a wire transfer. If you are selected, you will pay the appropriate visa application and program fees in person at the U.S. embassy or consulate on the day of your visa interview.
The FTC report also notes:
The State Department doesn't notify selected applicants by mail or by email. Beginning with the DV-2012 program, entrants are responsible for checking the status of their applications through the Entrant Status Check at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
Although it might seem legitimate at a first reading, a closer examination of the email shows several telltale signs that it is not a genuine Diversity Visa document. Firstly, the message comes from a non-government email address (dv@stategov-us.com) and also asks recipients to reply to this same non-government email address. If an email or website address does not end in ".gov" it is not an official US government domain. The proper address for information about the Diversity Visa program is www.dvlottery.state.gov and no other.

Secondly, there are spelling mistakes ("diveristy" instead of "diversity") and unusual use of words ("There is a big confusion", "kids" rather than "children") that are very unlikely to be found in an official US government document.

Thirdly, there are inconsistencies in the text - the supposed processing fee is listed as $880 in one section and $879 in another - that again are unlikely to be found in a government document.

If you have applied for the DV program random drawing, be very wary of any email claiming that you have won and that asks you send upfront processing fees. If you are considering applying, remember that the only website to use to enter the DV program random drawing is www.dvlottery.state.gov.

For more information about Diversity Visa Lottery scams, review the information available on the FTC website.

Bookmark and Share References
http://www.dvlottery.state.gov
Diversity Visa Program Scammers Sending Fraudulent Emails and Letters
Diversity Visa Lottery: Read the Rules, Avoid the Rip-Offs

Last updated: 4th June 2011
First published: 4th June 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer