Winning the DV lottery is a dream for many people, and of course, wherever there are dreams to be handed out, there always seems to be someone trying to make a buck out of it. A DV lottery agent is an example of that. In several countries there has been an increase in entries, quite out of the “normal” ranges of entries within the region. Ghana is one such country so let us examine Ghana as an example. Not trying to pick on the good people of Ghana – but my intention is to open people’s eyes, in Ghana and in other countries.
If you look at the number of entries to the lottery in Ghana over the last few years you will see a dramatic rise in the lottery entries. In DV2007 there were 210k entries, and around 80k derivatives. That number increased sharply every year, so that by DV 2013 there were 909k entries from Ghana (plus 147k family). Two things come to mind from those numbers.
- Why the HUGE increase in interest in Ghana?
- Why did the selectee:family ratio go from 1:0.38 down to 1:0.16?
Well, both questions can be answered with the same cause – Unauthorized DV lottery “agents”. These agents have set up tents and for a small fee they will help someone fill in their details for the DV lottery. Sounds like a good service? Well read on.
The decrease in selectee:family ratio is not the result of more single people applying for the lottery. It is a result on unscrupulous agents entering people in the lottery, often without the persons knowledge. They obtain a photo from Facebook or similar, they enter the name and IF do the entry. They keep the entry number and if that person wins, they approach the “winner” and demand a huge fee to pass on the winning details, reassuring the selectee that all will be fine. However, the details such as name and birthdate may not be accurate. Family members such as spouses and children may have been left off the entry. These things will cause problems if the winner tries to proceed with their entry. Only by then, they will have paid the agent, spent money on the medicals and DV entry fees and so on. I have read first hand accounts of exactly that experience.
So – the US embassies all carry warnings to not use an agent as this will open you up to being defrauded. There are NO official DV lottery agents in the world. None. Not one. The only place where the entry is valid is via the official website (dvlottery.state.gov). Entry through that site is simple and totally free.
This is not just happening in Ghana and the embassies are well aware of this happening. I know in some countries (in Nepal for instance this is quite common) there are similar agents that charge a small fee (literally a few dollars) and give the entrant the entry number. Those agents are honest, and not looking to scam people, but they are not necessary. Why risk giving your personal details to someone and then be open to whatever scheme they dream up to steal your money.
There are also numerous websites that charge you a fee for the convenience of entering your details on their website instead of the real one. Often they want you to sign up for multi year agreements where they will keep submitting your entry. Some face to face agents do the same. However, doing that brings some risks:
- Do you know and trust they will enter on your behalf – once they have your money – what if they go out of business?
- What if your situation has changed for the second year of entry – not listing a newborn for instance is disqualification.
- If they make multiple entries by mistake on your behalf (through a system error for instance, you will be disqualified from that year and probably placed on a “red flag” list for future years.
- And let’s not forget, you are paying them money for what should be free.
Be wiser than that.
DV lottery agent