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. While the DV lottery is a genuine U.S. government program, it is important to know enough about the DV lottery to protect oneself from fraud.
Please note: (1) the DOS does not charge any fees for participation in the lottery program and (2) they also do not advise “winners” (those selected to apply for legal permanent residence) by email. Notification is made by letter only. A genuine notification carries the personal data of the applicant. It does not include blanket requests for basic personal information. Fraudulent notifications sometimes ask for such information.
The DV lottery has an application procedure for participants. If one has not submitted this application through the DOS WebSite, within the established timeframes, one cannot be selected. The DOS does not select individuals at random for this benefit. Fraudulent winner notifications are sometimes received by individuals who have not even applied for the DV lottery.
So be smart and be safe. Be careful regarding any organizations that claim to be able to improve one’s chances of success with the lottery application process. Read the fraud alert here