Lottery Scams

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HOW TO RECOGNIZE A SUSPICIOUS OR POSSIBLY FRAUDULENT

VISA DIVERSITY LOTTERY PROGRAM WEB SITE

Be on the alert for fake lawyers, fake web sites, fake claims, fake emails, anyone who offers to help you win a DV Lottery Program for a fee.  They may charge any amount of money: victims have told us they gave as much as $500 to $1,000 to a scammer to enter them in the DV Lottery, only to lose everything.

During every DV Lottery Program registration period, scammers create web sites to mislead those who wish to enter.  Some of these web sites are open all year.

So that you are not drawn in to a fake web site, the first rule is to NEVER enter your information anywhere but on the US Government web site form: http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/.  ALL US Government web sites contain .gov somewhere in the web site address (URL).  If you do not see .gov in the URL, it is NOT a US Government web site.

A suspicious or possibly fraudulent web site:

  • Does not have an "About Us" page.

  • Does not publish it's street address and phone number on the contact page.

  • Asks you to pay a fee for unknown services or for services that are not required, such as attorney fees or administration fees.

  • Is not up to date - i.e. is still open for you to register for a DV Lottery Program that is closed or one that is not open yet.

  • Requires that you file your application on their site instead of on the http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ web site.  Never file your information any site other than the http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ web site.  You could be at risk of Identity Theft.

  • Requires that you provide your DV Lottery Program information on a web site that does not have https:// in the web address (URL).  The "s" means the site is secure.  If there is no "s" in a URL that asks for personal information, you risk letting anyone and everyone see your information AND you do not know who you are giving your information to.

  • Guarantees that you will win.

  • Offers a gift or free airline tickets (these are called "incentives") if you register on the site and pay a fee.  That is false if the cost of the gift is as much or more than they are asking you to pay

  • Says that it can mail in your photos for you.  This is not true.  All photos must be scanned onto the computer you are using, then submitted with and as the same time as the online application.  Photos cannot be submitted separately from the online application.

  • Says that they are affiliated with the U.S. Government.  Always verify this by contacting the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.  Unscrupulous attorneys will also say they are affiliated with the US Government and, there always those who are only pretending to be an attorney.

  • Says they have special expertise or a special entry form that is required to enter the lottery.  That's not true - no special knowledge or expertise is required to fill out the DV Lottery applications.

  • States that their company has never had a lottery entry rejected.  This is completely impossible: the selection process is completely random.  In other words, it's like drawing names out of a hat.

  • States that their company can increase an entrant?s chances of winning the lottery.  Again, this is a complete lie.  The application is very clean and easy to follow.  Your name, address, phone, level of education, your wife's name, the names of your children, photos of everyone ... that's the type of information you have to provide.  Then your name is drawn at random, again - exactly like drawing names out of hat.

  • Tells you that people from ineligible countries still are qualified to enter the lottery.  That is totally false.  If you are from a country that is ineligible for the years you wish to file a DV Lottery Program application, you must use another method to obtain your Green Card.  All methods are available to you on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services web site: http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/residency/

  • Has a name that sounds like it is the US Government but the web address, the URL, does not end in or contain .gov.

  • Says that it can submit more than one entry in your name.  This is not only a lie, but will ruin your chances of winning.  You can only submit one entry.  See Question and Answer #26 that explains what to do if you are having a problem submitting your online application in the 60 minute time period due to slow Internet connections and other electronic problems.

  • Leads you to believe in any manner whatsoever that the people behind the web site have any special ability to fill out your application for you OTHER than to help you with the translation.

  • Says that US residents can also apply for the DV Lottery.    The truth is that unless one is an undocumented alien the foreign resident already has a US visa.  Furthermore, an undocumented alien would have to lie about his or her current residence address, which is considered fraud.

If you need assistance translating the application, any US Embassy or Consulate will assist you.  Most universities have English-speaking members of the staff.  International banks always have English-speaking personnel on staff.  Most places of worship know of someone in the community or a nearby community who speaks English.