Scammers are contacting Diversity Visa applicants posing as immigration officials to extract payment from them, warns the State Department. The scammers send emails and letters with fraudulent information to trick applicants into paying them.
Diversity Visa Program
The Diversity Visa (DV) Program issues up to 50,000 immigrant visas per year to applicants who originate from countries with low rates of immigration. The visas are issued randomly and are designed to enable individuals with fewer opportunities to immigrate to the U.S.
The Structure of the Scam
The scammers send emails and mail letters posing as immigration officials informing people that their applications were approved and to please remit payment immediately or risk losing their application. The email or letter will generally impose a strict deadline and instruct the victim to remit payment through an unusual means, such as money order, check, or wire transfer. The U.S. government will never instruct an applicant to pay a fee in advance by money order, wire transfer, or check.
How DV Applicants Are Approved
People can check the status of their application at the DV Entrant Status Check. The State Department does not tell applicants their application is approved by letter or email – they will only tell applicants by updating their profile at the Status Check portal. Furthermore, successful applicants remit payment to their local embassy or consulate at their scheduled appointment – not in advance.
Government Tips to Avoid Fraud
The State Department encourages applicants to be familiar with the DV Program rules. Specifically, applicants are encouraged to complete the application themselves (if possible) and if not to be as integrally involved in the application process as possible.
Additionally, the State Department warns applicants to avoid visa consultants who advise they can increase the chances of success by entering false information. Fake or incomplete information can delay or even disqualify an application. The State Department does not work with visa consultants and cannot increase applicants’ chances of getting approved.
Each person may submit one application. If a person submits more than one application, they are disqualified. Applicants should submit their applications through their email accounts (which can be set up for free on any computer or smartphone). Finally, if approved, applicants may add their legal spouse and children only – no one else.