For Immediate Release
3 March 2011
The U.S. Embassy in London has received thousands of enquiries from people who are victims of a world-wide scam involving the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, also known as the visa lottery. The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters pose as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from Diversity Visa applicants. To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, please read the following advice from the Embassy.
The U.S. government never contacts visa lottery winners via the Internet. Scammers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques that often use the Embassy’s address or name an actual person at the U.S. Embassy in London as the point of contact. This would never happen if you really had won the visa lottery. The U.S. Government will NOT ask you to send money to them or to the Embassy in London or any other U.S. Embassy. Any message that asks you to send money, by mail or by services such as Western Union, is a scam even if a legitimate Embassy address is provided.
The only way to apply for the Diversity Visa Program is through the official U.S. Department of State website during the specified registration period which takes place annually in the Fall. If you have never registered for the program, you will NOT be contacted in regard to this program, and should find it strange if contacted regarding your winning.
If you registered for the Diversity Visa Program 2012, you will be required to check the outcome of your registration at the official U.S. government website http://www.dvlottery.state.gov beginning May 1, 2011. Prior to Diversity Visa 2012, all applicants were notified by the Department of State’s Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) by letter, NOT by email. The letter provides exact instructions on how to proceed to the next step in the process. No other organization or private company is authorized by the Department of State to notify visa lottery applicants of their winning entry or the next steps in the process of applying for their visa.
For more information on how to avoid Internet scams, please visit: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/scs/internet_scams.html