There are a number of DV lottery scams which cause a great deal of heartache and hassle. The US government is tirelessly trying to make things harder for scammers but greedy people will always find a way to exploit people. So – a few notes on what to do to avoid being scammed and what to do if you are being scammed.
Essential tips when entering the lottery.
- Enter the lottery yourself, don’t let anyone assist you unless you trust them 100% (such as a family member). If you complete your own entry (which is very simple and takes 10 minutes), you will retain control of your win should you be lucky enough to be selected.
- If you need help to take a photo, then by all means you can pay a few dollars for that service, but try not to let anyone else to be more involved than that.
- Use your own email address in the eDV (online entry). You won’t get any vital emails to that account (you can get by without accessing the one email you do get), but you need to know which email address was used.
- Be 100% accurate in your entry. Some people have made mistakes in entering their birthdate – and that can stop them accessing their win until they figure out the mistake – and of course, wrong information entered at that stage could get you disqualified.
Once you “win”
- Don’t share your precise case number with anyone you don’t trust.
- Don’t share your joy with everyone you meet – remember this is a long process so being selected is just the first stage of a process that can take up to 18 months and might not end with a visa.
OK – I am being “extorted” by an agent – what can I do.
Let’s consider the example of a DV2015 selectee called Samuel. His story is something like this. He had someone help him enter the DV lottery. That is unwise, but does not disqualify him from winning. However, the agent entered his own email address on the original DV entry and retained the confirmation number. The agent probably did that same thing for a lot of people. Once the winners were announced, the agent was able to check the entries, discovered that Samuel was a selectee and offered to reveal the winning details to Samuel only after getting thousands of dollars. Samuel had no way to access the Entrant Status Check (ESC) site without key information that the agent was withholding, and could not pay the money being asked.
So – what could Samuel do. Neither KCC nor the embassy can do much in that scenario. KCC are not supposed to hand out information to any selectee without the selectee quoting three pieces of information (Name/DOB/Case Number). Until the case is current and the DS260 form is processed, the embassy won’t know anything at all about the selectee.
In order to access the ESC site, you normally need the original entry confirmation code (not the case number), last name and year of birth. If you don’t have the confirmation code you can retrieve it by entering the following information:-
- Names as entered Last, first, middle
- Full Date of birth
- Email address as entered in the eDV.
For Samuel the email address was the problem – he was not sure what email address had been used by the agent. However, a good Samaritan (Melissa S) helped him deduce the email address and Samuel was then able to access his case on the ESC site. That gave him sight of the 1NL letter and will later allow him to get access to his appointment details (even though he won’t have access to the email 2NL, the appointment details are only made available through the ESC site).
Of course, in this scenario the other risk is that the agent has made mistakes in the eDV. Things like leaving a derivative off the application will result in a disqualification, and other details such as name mistakes and so on can also cause problems. So there is some risk involved, as you cannot know everything that was entered on the eDV. However, if you are being scammed, you may be able to get control back, as in Samuels case.
If you are in that position it is worth sending an email explanation to KCC. That email will be on file and will be sent to the embassy along with your file. It might help with explaining small mistakes on the eDV, and the CO may be sympathetic to your situation. It will also make KCC aware if the agent decides to try and make life difficult with KCC. You must, of course complete DS260 and make sure that is 100% accurate.