Today the Federal Trade Commission announced that the results of the Diversity Visa Lottery are now available. Unfortunately the FTC also warned consumers to be careful of what is known as the Green Card lottery scams. While there is a legitimate Visa lottery taking place, you need to be extra careful of emails sent to you claiming you are a winner.
According to the FTC, scammers are sending out spoofed emails notifying people that they won the official Green Card lottery. Once people receive this fake notice they are asked to send money in order to claim their spot. The FTC warns that these emails are known as the Green Card lottery scam and urges consumers to beware. According to the FTC, the U.S. government will never ask you to send money, but instead will have you bring it in directly during your appointment at the US Embassy. The FTC recommends that the best way to check the status of the diversity visa lottery or obtain information is by visiting http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1322.html#status
Be on the lookout for spam
Spam is a word most of us are familiar with; but unfortunately cyber criminals are designing sneakier ways to trick us. The rule you need to adopt at all times is to be wary of any email you receive, and never open it unless you know who it is from. You also need to be especially careful if you get an email from even a trusted source, because cyber criminals often impersonate major companies using spoofed notices.
Internet safety from identity theft is a task we all need to practice; because we never know when or where a cyber-criminal will strike. When you receive a message that looks suspicious, do not open it. Instead send it to the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com. While it is hard to tell real from fake, protecting yourself from identity theft requires you to be suspicious of everything you receive online. To help keep you safe, the FTC warns of the following situations:
- Be wary of each email sent to you even if it is from friend, because scammers send spoofed emails in an effort to trick you.
- Make sure you don’t randomly forward an email because it could be a virus or malware.
- Disconnect your computer whenever you are away from your computer to decrease the risk of being hacked.
- Check your sent messages frequently to make sure you recognize everything that was sent; because cyber criminals can hack and spoof your email.
If you live in Santa Ana and you have a loved one who is awaiting citizenship, please let them know not to believe any email telling them they won a visa. Let them know that these emails are part of the Green card Lottery scam and is only meant to take their money or steal their identity.
Unfortunately, once a cyber criminal has your information, your identity is at risk. If you or a loved one gave money to a Green card lottery scam, please contact the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-647-5400 You should also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center to file a complaint at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx
Protection from identity theft is a constant battle each of us face daily. It is so important that you use the internet safely and be sure to spread the word as well as tell your friends and family what you learn.
As always, thank you for your visit today. If you have a personal experience or comment you would like to make please feel free to do so.
Vincent, N. (2003, May 21). Green card lottery scams Federal Trade Commission Retrieved from http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/green-card-lottery-scams