A reader asked us today to verify an email he received informing him that he’d just won the green card lottery. Without even reading it, everyone should know that it is scam.
The US Department of Sate (DOS) has warned the public repeatedly that they do not send emails to Diversity Visa (DV) recipients. The department’s Kentucky Consular Center used to send letters via postal mail. However, starting this year, notifications will no longer be mailed to lottery winners. So, the only way you can learn about your DV status is online, using the only official government website at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. There is also a phone number, 202-663-1225, for people who have a need to speak to a visa specialist. If you are outside the United States, you may contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for DV related questions.
Fraudulent businesses and individuals may claim to be affiliated with the U.S. government. Some promise you better chances of winning the green card lottery. They may also have websites that contain URL’s similar to government addresses, display official-looking emblems (American flags, eagles, statue of liberty, etc.), or have a Washington D.C. mailing address. In the end, they always want money. Do not reply to such emails. Don not send payment or any documents.
If you do receive an email or letter from a scammer, you can file a complaint at the FTC’s website https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ or at http://www.econsumer.gov/. These complaints are used to assist law enforcement authorities worldwide in their investigation of criminal activities.