Have you received an email claiming that you won the green card lottery and asking you to wire money? Be careful! This is a scam.
How to Tell if the Email Is Fraudulent
Scams revolving around the green card lottery — also known as the Diversity Visa Program — are surprisingly common. The fraudsters usually use email addresses designed to impersonate the US State Department. Although there are many, the following email address endings are known to be fraudulent:
An easy way to tell an email is fraudulent is if it does not end in .gov.
One widely reported scam asks recipients to wire money via Western Union to an individual in London, UK, at either 30 Leicester Square or 24 Grosvenor Square. The amount of money requested varies.
Fraudulent “Government” Websites
Several fraudulent websites have been discovered to be posing as official US government sites.
Designed to appear official, the websites often include images of the US flag, US Capitol, White House or Statue of Liberty. Remember- if the website does not have a .gov suffix, it should be considered suspect!
You will also know they are fraudulent if they request money to complete green card lottery entry forms. There is no charge to download or complete the green card lottery entry form.
Reporting Green Card Lottery Fraud
You should never transfer money to anyone who emails you claiming you have won the green card lottery. The Department of State does not notify successful green card lottery candidates by letter or email.
If you receive an email that looks like a scam, do not respond. If the email asks you to forward money through Western Union, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org or report it by calling 1-800-448-1492. You can also report fraudulent emails to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission, or by calling 1-877-382-4357.
2012 Green Card Lottery Program Mishap
But even if you carefully avoid green card lottery scam emails, that’s no guarantee that you won’t run into other complications. In 2012, for example, a group of immigrants filed a class-action lawsuit against the US State Department when it mistakenly notified more than 20,000 foreigners that they won green cards but subsequently voided them as invalid.
In response, the State Department set up a new 2012 green card lottery drawing held over the summer.
Entrants in the 2015 lottery may now check the status of their entries through the Entry Status Check at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Entry Status Check will also provide successful green card lottery selectees instructions on how to proceed with their application.
The online registration period for the 2016 green card lottery began Oct. 1 and runs through Nov. 3, 2014.