Published: March 4, 2011
As our government’s IT security/anti-fraud measures develop with the times, so do the tools of resourceful scam artists. The latest new scam presents itself as a scary-authentic email notification, advising the recipient that they have won the visa lottery, known as the Diversity Visa lottery, and are eligible to be issued U.S. permanent residence or “green card”. The email includes all of the types of governmental agency language and symbols we associate with a governmental communication and of course, preys on the vulnerabilities of foreign nationals desperately seeking U.S. immigration status to sell the fantasy. The pay-off for the scammer is victim adherence to instructions calling for payment of $500.00-$700.00 for visa processing fees.

According to some accounts, the individuals receiving the emails are apparently in a U.S. Department of State data base, and noted as beneficiary of a visa petition where they are awaiting visa availability in a Family or Employment Preference category. For example, I have heard stories of some registered nurses from the Philippines who have been petitioned by a U.S. healthcare facility and are merely awaiting visa availability in the Employment Based 3rd Preference. As a side note, these nurses never would have applied for the visa lottery in the first place since citizens of the Philippines are not eligible.

So, if you or someone you know receives a suspicious email advising of a visa lottery win and requesting payment of visa processing fees, it is advisable that its authenticity be confirmed by an official at a local Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services office OR by an immigration attorney. For more information about this scam and how to protect yourself, visit:

Copyright © 2011, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois