Category Archives: Scams

US Consulate Kentucky Offers Diplopundit a Green Card Lottery Visa in ALL CAPS, and Wrong Font!

– Domani Spero

We just got this ‘Congratulations! You Won the Green Card Visa Lottery‘ email purporting to originate from the State Department.

Yup, not just from the State Department but from the United States Consulate in Kentucky.  In ALL CAPS. And in wrong font.  You dolts!  Didn’t you get the memo?  12 pt Times New Roman!

In exchange for “a processing fee” of $890 – $1420, the U.S. lottery visa that we apparently “won” also includes free tickets to — the United States. How do we claim this prize and free ticket if we’re already in the United States? We desperately needed a vacation and would like tickets for Hawaii. We were going to call the phone number provided to inquire (offer says do not email because they’re “busy”) but the country code says +66. Mr. Googles says that country code belongs to Thailand.  And here we thought US Consulate Kentucky is in the land of Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

Don’t you just want to head to Thailand for spring break, find U.S. Consulate Kentucky’s Secretary General Brooke and punch him in the face?

Screen Capture from US Embassy London

Screen Capture from US Embassy London

So below is the U.S. Consulate in Kentucky, USA with a phone number in Thailand headed by a Secretary General who uses an email without a .gov.  Kidding aside, if you don’t want to be a fraud victim, read this one:  Diversity Visa Program Scammers Sending Fraudulent Emails and Letters.

Apologies for inflicting an ALL CAPS post on our readers but doing this as a PSA:

 

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 

NATIONAL- VISA- CENTER 32  ROCHESTER  AVE,

PORTSMOUTH , NH 0358801-2  USA 

CASE- NUMBER::FRC 55865663318AA

PREFERENCES- CATEGORIES:-  (DV DIVERSITY)
FOREIGN- STATE -CHARGEABILITY

WE WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT YOU ARE AMONG THE LUCKY SELECTED WINNERS OF THE U.S. GREEN CARD EMAIL BALLOT LOTTERY PROGRAM OF THE 2014 EDITION .

DETAILS.
THIS E-MAIL BALLOT VISA- LOTTERY- PROGRAM WAS INNOVATED ON 2ND OF MARCH BY- USAFIS, THIS IS THE 2ND EDITION OF THE PROGRAM AND ITS DESIGNED TO BE HELD EVERY YEAR, THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM IS TO GIVE FREE- VISA’S TO CITIZENS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD WHO WISHES TO TRAVEL TO U.S AND START A NEW LIFE AND WORK.

IN THIS INNOVATED PROGRAM, NO -REGISTRATIONS WERE BEING MADE OR REQUIRED AS THE PROGRAM WAS BEING CONDUCTED THROUGH COMPUTER DRAW SYSTEM OF E-MAIL RANDOM EXTRACTIONS FROM WORLD WIDE REGISTERED WEBSITES.

IN THIS 2ND EDITION OF THE PROGRAM, TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE (225) U.S- VISA’S WERE RELEASED AND 6.3 MILLION E-MAIL ADDRESSES WERE EXTRACTED FROM WORLD WIDE REGISTERED WEB-SITES DURING THE 33-DAYS EXTRACTION PERIOD THAT RAN  FOR FINAL SELECTION, ALL EXTRACTED EMAIL ADDRESSES WERE ASSIGNED TO DIFFERENT TICKET NUMBERS FOR REPRESENTATION AND PRIVACY FOR FINAL- SELECTION THROUGH COMPUTER- DRAW- SYSTEM.

YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS ATTACHED TO TICKET- NUMBER (564002-188) DREW -THE LUCKY- NUMBER’S WHICH SUBSEQUENTLY WON YOU THE U.S VISA AND WE ARE SENDING THE WINNING- NOTIFICATION- DIRECTLY THROUGH THE- SELECTED- WINNING E-MAIL ADDRESS WHICH MEANS THAT IF YOU RECEIVE THE WINNING- NOTIFICATION IN YOUR MAIL BOX THAT YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED- AMONG THE LUCKY- WINNER’S.

APPROXIMATELY ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE (155) LUCKY- SELECTED- WINNER’S HAD BEEN NOTIFIED- THROUGH THEIR SELECTED E-MAIL ADDRESSES- INCLUDING YOU TODAY

YOUR VISA- WINNING -IDENTIFICATION- CASE -NUMBER IS (FRC55865663318AA) NOTE THAT YOUR VISA- WINNING IDENTIFICATION CASE NUMBER IS YOUR PIN CODE TO CLAIMING YOUR VISA.

DISQUALIFICATION,
ANY -SELECTED- LUCKY- WINNER FROM THE SOME COUNTRIES WILL BE DISQUALIFIED, THIS IS BECAUSE EACH HAS MORE THAN 50,000 CANDIDATES IN THE U.S:-

BASIC- QUESTION.
HOW CAN I MAKE THE CLAIM OF MY VISA?
YOU WILL OBTAIN YOUR VISA THROUGH THE- U.S CONSULAR OFFICER IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY OR COUNTRY OF YOUR PRESENT RESIDENCE AND NOTE THAT THE U.S CONSULAR OFFICER IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY OR COUNTRY OF YOUR PRESENT RESIDENCE WILL NOT ATTEND TO YOU WITHOUT YOUR PROCESSED DOCUMENTS OF WHICH TO ACCESS YOUR VISA WINNINGS THROUGH THEIR NETWORK DATABASE.

OUR VISA PROCESSING AGENTS HAD BEEN APPORTIONED AMONG SIX GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS, ALL SELECTED LUCKY WINNER’S WILL NEED TO ACT ON THEIR CLAIMS APPLICATIONS QUICKLY BEFORE THE VISA CLAIM EXPIRATION DEADLINE(30TH APRIL 2014)

FOR YOUR- VISA- FORM AND REQUIREMENTS,CONTACT OUR ASIA/PACIFIC/MIDDLE EAST -AGENT VIA THIS CONTACT DETAILS,  NAME: MRS DONNA WHITE 

E-MAIL:  ussdc@america.hm
E-MAIL:  usavisa@linuxmail.org


TEL:+66-948762973

 N.B: PROCESSING FEE.
SINGLE- US$890
DUAL- US$1,420

HOW CAN I PAY THE PROCESSING FEE? 
THE FOLLOWING FORMS OF PAYMENT ARE ACCEPTED: 

WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
MONEY GRAM.
BANK TRANSFER.

BENEFITS. 
ALL THE SELECTED -LUCKY -WINNER’S WILL GET FREE AIR TICKETS TO THE U.S. YOUR AIR TICKET WILL BE SEND TO YOU BY- OUR  ASIA  /PACIFIC /MIDDLE EAST AGENT TOGETHER WITH YOUR PROCESSED DOCUMENTS.

PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW ALL THE ENCLOSED INSTRUCTIONS VERY CAREFULLY.

DO NOT REPLY BACK TO THIS NOTIFICATION E- MAIL (BUSY)

FOR FURTHER INQUIRIES; 
CONTACT OUR  ASIA  /PACIFIC AGENT WHERE YOUR VISA WINNING DETAILS FALLS.

SINCERELY YOURS,
MR. TONY BROOKE 
SECRETARY GENERAL US CONSULATE  KENTUCKY 

 

If you are not too familiar with visas and the United States, please know that there are no/no U.S. embassies or consulates inside the United States. There is no such thing as a Secretary General or a U.S. Consulate Kentucky. To learn more about the green card lottery, officially called the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program, please check out the official page of the U.S. State Department at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/diversity-visa.html.

 

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49 Russian Diplomats/Spouses Charged With Picking Uncle Sam’s Pocket in Medicaid Scam

– Domani Spero

Well, this isn’t good.  The defendants are current or former Russian diplomats or spouses of diplomats connected with the Russian Mission in the United States.  The alleged widespread Medicaid fraud occurred from 2004 to August 2013. Apparently, approximately $1,500,000 in fraudulently received benefits were obtained by the defendants and dozens of other co-conspirators not named in the complaint in the last 9 years.

Via USDOJ:

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), today announced charges against 49 defendants for participating in a widespread fraud scheme from 2004 to August 2013 to illegally obtain nearly half a million dollars in Medicaid benefits. Each of the defendants charged in the Complaint unsealed today is a current or former Russian diplomat or the spouse of a diplomat employed at either the Russian Mission to the United Nations (the “Mission”), the Russian Federation Consulate General in New York (the “Consulate”), or the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the USA, New York Office (the “Trade Representation”). The Complaint alleges that each of the defendants and their unnamed co-conspirators participated in a widespread scheme to illegally obtain Medicaid benefits for prenatal care and related costs by, among other things, falsely underreporting their income or falsely claiming that their child was a citizen of the United States.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Diplomacy should be about extending hands, not picking pockets in the host country. Here, as alleged, a multitude of Russian diplomats and their spouses ran a scam on a health care system designed to help Americans in need. As the Complaint alleges, the scam exploited a weakness in the Medicaid system, and the charges expose shameful and systemic corruption among Russian diplomats in New York.”

According to the announcement, each of the defendants was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to steal government funds and make false statements relating to health care matters, which carry maximum sentences of ten years and five years in prison, respectively.

Apparently, of the 49 defendants, 38 no longer reside in the United States.  There are, however, still 11 currently in the country. According to USDOJ, five of those individuals are diplomats working at the Russian Mission to the United Nations in New York. Another five of those individuals are the spouses of the diplomats. One defendant is currently employed at the Russian Federation’s embassy in Washington, D.C., but at the time of the charged offenses, was employed at the Consulate.

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed on December 5 in the Manhattan federal court:

Medicaid is a largely federally funded program in the United States designed to assist low-income families afford health care. In New York State, the Department of Health administers the Medicaid program, and the New York City Human Resources Administration oversees the program and processes applications in New York City. In New York State, pregnant women can receive immediate prenatal care following a preliminary assessment of the pregnant woman’s, and, if applicable, her spouse’s, income. If the pregnant woman provides an income level that is higher than the Medicaid eligibility threshold, the provider will generally not process the Medicaid application. Proof of United States citizenship is not required for a pregnant woman to receive Medicaid benefits because the unborn child is presumed to acquire United States citizenship by virtue of being born in the United States. Once completed, the pregnant woman is entitled to Medicaid benefits pursuant to the original application until the 60th post-partum day, and the newborn child is entitled to benefits on the mother’s initial application until the child’s first birthday. Diplomats, their spouses and children are generally not entitled to Medicaid benefits except in cases of emergency.

While in the United States, the individuals employed by the Mission, Consulate, and Trade Representation are paid a salary by the Russian government, which is not subject to United States federal, state, or local taxes. Employees of the Mission and Consulate generally live in housing, the vast majority of which is paid for by the Russian government. The Mission and Consulate historically have also paid for the medical expenses of their employees, including hospital and doctor bills, as well as dental expenses. Each of the defendants named in the Complaint is a Russian diplomat who works or worked at the Mission, Consulate, or Trade Representation, or was married to such an individual. As a result of an international convention among multiple nations and a bilateral agreement between the United States and Russia, children born in the United States to Russian diplomats generally do not acquire United States citizenship.

The investigation revealed the widespread submission of falsified applications for Medicaid benefits associated with medical costs for prenatal care, birth, and young children by the defendants, which enabled the defendants to obtain Medicaid benefits that they were not otherwise entitled to receive. Approximately $1,500,000 in fraudulently received benefits were obtained by the defendants and dozens of other co-conspirators not named in the Complaint. In general, the defendants underreported their income to an amount below or at the applicable Medicaid eligibility level in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits. In support of the underreported income, the defendants generally submitted letters signed by employees of the Mission, Consulate, or Trade Representation, purporting to corroborate that the falsely underreported income was the true income amount. The defendants’ true income was often hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more per month than what was falsely reported to Medicaid. Moreover, before, during, and after the time that the defendants received Medicaid benefits, several of the defendants opened credit card accounts in which they reflected salaries thousands of dollars higher than they reported to Medicaid.

[...]

Three other defendants falsely claimed that their children – Russian nationals residing in the United States pursuant to visas issued by the Department of State reflecting their Russian citizenship – were citizens of the United States in order to obtain Medicaid benefits for their children. To support these lies, a United States social security card was provided for one application, and both a United States Social Security Card and a birth certificate issued by the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene was provided in support of another application.

[...]

Moreover, before, during, and after the time that the defendants applied for and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid benefits, they spent tens of thousands of dollars on luxury items, including cruise vacations and purchases such as watches, shoes, and jewelry, at stores such as Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Prada, Bloomingdale’s, and Burberry.

If you want to read the official complaint, click here: Kuleshov, Mikhail et al. 13 MAG 2711 Complaint

Meanwhile, at the State Department, the Spokesperson said on 12/5: “We are still at the State Department reviewing the charges that were unsealed. We’re not yet in a position to speak to the types of specifics about what might happen. Obviously, there is a legal procedure that will be unfolding from this point.” Below is an additional back and forth during the Daily Press Briefing:

QUESTION: Well, does it concern you at all that employees of the Russian Government, while in this country, were involved in – allegedly involved in such a scam? Will you ask the Russian Government to repay what was – what they allegedly stole, for lack of a better word?

MS. HARF: Well, we’re still looking into the charges and the type of specifics in terms of reimbursement and all of that. We’re still – we don’t have any position on that yet. We’re still looking at the charges. And as we go forward, we may have more to share.
[..]

QUESTION: I would suggest to you that 49 is more than a handful, and this appears to have been going on over a sustained period of time. And it’s unlikely that the Russian Government was unaware that these people were –

MS. HARF: I don’t know if they were –

QUESTION: You’ve read the charges?

MS. HARF: I don’t know if they were –

QUESTION: I mean, they were buying incredibly expensive jewelry, taking these fabulous vacations. You would think –

MS. HARF: I honestly don’t know if they were aware. We don’t think this should affect our bilateral relationship with Russia. Quite frankly, there are too many important issues we have to work on together. The justice system will proceed in the way that it does here in the States, and we don’t think it should impact our relationship.

Quite frankly, this was an FBI undercover operation  that went on for about a year and a half.  So a little appreciation for the work done by law enforcement agents would not be too undiplomatic, is it?  The FBI agent’s statement also notes that of the 63 births to the Russian diplomats and their spouses in New York City between the years 2004 and 2013, 58 of those families, or 92% were allegedly paid for by Medicaid benefits. False letters from senior Russian officials were allegedly routinely annexed to the Medicaid applications. The Russian official signatories include a Deputy Trade Representative, a consul, an attache’ and a counselor, according to the complaint.

Now, can you imagine Elizabeth Jennings doing something like this?

WaPo is reporting that the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the charges “no more than a cheap spin effort, no more than a desire to fulfill the order of Russophobic forces in the United States.” Also just so everyone knows, Ryabkov added that “We have many complaints about U.S. diplomats in Moscow, but we aren’t taking them into the public domain.”

This is now a diplomatic embarrassment. Friends at US Mission Russia, watch yourselves.

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Telephone Scam: Infected Computer? But…But…I Live in a Tent and Don’t Have a Computer

—By Domani Spero

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3®) released its 2012 report recently.  Here’s one of the scams described:

In a twist to the pop-up scareware scheme, victims began receiving telephone calls from individuals allegedly claiming to be from legitimate well-known software companies. The victims of these calls were advised malware had been detected on their computers and posed an impending threat. The fraudsters tried to instill a feeling of urgency so victims would take immediate action and log on to their computers. Once the victims logged in, the fraudsters directed them to the utility area of the computers, where they appeared to demonstrate how the computers were infected. The fraudsters offered to rid the computers of the malware for fees ranging from $49 to $450. When the victims agreed to pay the fees, they were directed to a website where they entered a code or downloaded a software program that allowed the fraudsters remote access to their computers.

These folks are actually quite persistent.  The first time I got this call, the caller spoke in heavily accented English. I told the person politely that I have difficulty understanding what he was saying. The person connected me to his supervisor who was no better at it. Finally they gave up on me since I was dumb and dumber and they had to repeat half a dozen times their explanation of what’s a malware. That was fun!

Another time, I scolded the caller for implying that my computer is some sort of ET who can call “home.” That was not even fun and a waste of time since they interrupted my favorite chore of laundry making.

Now when these folks call, I just tell them I live in a tent and do not own a computer.  You can hear their minds literally crash.  Oh, and they haven’t called since.

(^-^)V

 

 

 

 

 

 

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US Embassy Costa Rica: La Visa Americana, Gangnam Style

Via US Embassy San Jose in Costa Rica.  The video warns about visa scammers who promised help in obtaining a visa, a job or residence in the United States.  In a starring role is Costa Rican singer Daniel Castillo and Ambassador  Anne Slaughter Andrew.

 

 

Can you spot the stars?  There’s one smiling while working the fingerprint scanner!

 

– DS

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PSA Diversity Visa Scam: Meet Our YouTube Stars

The diversity visa scam email recently forwarded to this blog made me look up the scam alerts and public service announcements (PSA) on the same subject. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the following are the videos put together by our consular sections to warn the public against the diversity visa or green card lottery scams.   Our top pick is the PSA from the US Embassy in Bangkok and our second pick is from the US Embassy in Tbilisi. The first two PSAs are clear, camera sharp, short and to the point, and both carry subtitles in the local language. The consular officers have camera presence, well-modulated voice, good lighting, and lucky enough to have excellent audio-visual support.

Tips on how to avoid Diversity Visa scam
US Embassy Bangkok | Duration 1:45 min

Green Card Lottery Scam
US Embassy Tbilisi |  1:17 min

Diversity Visa Lottery Fraud Warning
US Embassy Prague |  1:26
This video with Consul General David Beam from U.S. Embassy Prague is short but not so sweet, has no subtitle in Czech and the camera image is shadowy and fuzzy.

Diversity Visa Lottery Fraud
US Embassy Islamabad | 1:06
This PSA with Brad is short and sweet, to the point, and has a subtitle. But the speaker talks too fast, too animated and twitches around so much it makes me dizzy. The video transition is also distracting.

Whatever you do, if you’re planning your own PSA, stay away from the Fox and the Bear, like the US Embassy in Romania whose consular section has put together three videos on diversity visa scams.

http://youtu.be/oymH1u6ZmTk 6:59
http://youtu.be/w0bGoRUPYao 7:51
http://youtu.be/anPBna9oRzY  8:40

Apparently, the Fox and the Bear tale was based on a Romanian folktale like this one.  Maybe the Fox Tricked the Bear tale could work as warning props but these videos are all over 5 minutes in length — that’s too long for a PSA and I’m sorry to say, quite boring.

Domani Spero

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Diversity Visa Scam: Anywhere in the US for $879 Only, and “No Discount for Childrens”

English: 'USCIS To Issue Redesigned Green Card'

Image via Wikipedia

A reader from the Philippines sent us this email scam on diversity visa. Apparently it’s been going around.  For $879, the potential victim is offered accommodation, health insurance, education and a guaranteed job in the United States! Potential victims are also told they can bring everyone in the family including cousins, as long as they each pay $879.  But apparently, there is “no discount for childrens.” Potential victims have to pay via Western Union and they have to send that money all the way to London!


Your registered name  [REDACTED] is included to show this message originated from U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State notifies [REDACTED]of being selected as a winner of the Diversity Visa program.

Dear  [REDACTED] , You are one of the 50,000 winners selected by the computer random draw from the 12.1 million entries registered in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program . The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery.

Winner Details
Acceptance Date:    Friday 18th of November 2011 08:46:19 PM
Winner Name:         [REDACTED]
Country of Birth:    Philippines
Phone Number:      [REDACTED]

Diversity Visa Details
With the Diversity Visa (also known as Green Card) you will enjoy all the advantages and benefits of a U.S. permanent resident, including health and education benefits, and employment opportunities along with guidance in your new country, orientation sessions and programs to integrate into mainstream American society. Once received you can use it at any time you want to move in the United States or just travel. The visa must be renewed after 10 years.

U.S. Government helps you with the accommodation and offers you Health Insurance (Freedom HSA Direct Individual Health insurance for 1 year), Dwelling (Apartment in any city you prefer, 1 bedroom for 3 months ), a guaranteed job (in the field that you are are currently qualified so you can start working even from the first week you arrive in the United States and get paid as U.S citizen. ) and education (for U.S. Students or Higher Education through EducationUSA. It includes transfer to a U.S college or University so you can continue your educational study. More details can be found at http://educationusa.state.gov/ .)


Processing fees


Type of Residence Card Status Amount (per person)
United States Permanent Resident Card Granted! – Waiting for payment of processing fee $879
Processing fees Included
Total $879

Although the Diversity Visa participation was free, the law and regulations require to every diversity visa winner to pay a visa processing fee of $879. The Diversity Visa(Green Card) is guaranteed upon receiving the payment. The per person fee for each Diversity Visa is $879, payable in U.S. dollars or equivalent of your local currency. This $879 fee is the only fee a winner needs to pay throughout the entire relocation process.
Accompanying family members(wife/husband, fiancee, brothers, sisters, childrens, cousins) may be included in the program and their visas will be provided at the same time with yours so you can travel/move together in the same time. However the fees must be paid per person and each member(e.g wife, brother, parents, childrens, cousin) must pay $879. There is no discount for childrens. Please note that you are allowed to take with you as many family members you want. However for each person you must pay an additional amount of U.S $879. For example if you decide to move in the United States with your wife and a kid the total fee is US$879(your fee) + US$879(your wife) + US$879(your kid) = US$2637.


PURPOSE: The U.S. Department of State uses the fee payment primarily to process your visa related documents and verify your identity.

Visa Payment processing instructions
The fees must be paid using Western Union money transfer and will be processed by the U.S. embassy in the United Kingdom.

Western Union is a leading provider of International person-to-person money transfer. With more than 150 years experience and 245,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories, Western Union is recognized for sending money quickly, reliably, and safety. You can send the payment in U.S. dollars or equivalent of your local currency .


Click on the following link to find the nearest Western Union agency and send the fees payment :


Find Western Union Agency

If you are unable to find a Western Union agency near your location, you may ask a relative or friend to pay the fee on your behalf.

After you find a Western Union agency you need to go with cash money, an identity card(e.g passport or national identity card) and send the payment to the U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom:

Name   : Kevin Wine
Address:  73 Queens Avenue
London, N20 0JB
United Kingdom

The payment must be sent to the above U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom because the U.S. Department of State decided this based on the diplomatic relations with your country.
After you send the payment follow the next steps:
Fax the Western Union receipt at +44 2080434497 !

Then wait for the confirmation that the payment was received.

Within 48 hours, you will receive a confirmation via email with your Case Number/Confirmation Number and exact date and time(approx. 2 days) of the final interview. Upon successful interview you will receive your documents and travel information to move in the United States. Under no circumstances your visa status won’t be affected by the interview. After you have paid the processing fees your visa is guaranteed !

Please Note!

The payment must be sent via Western Union in maxx 5 working days after you have received and read the email from U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE. You are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last day to pay. Heavy demand may result in system delays . The visa processing fee(US $879) is mandatory for each person and the U.S. Government doesn’t offer any discount, loan or exception. You have been selected winner of the Diversity Visa lottery so the visa is guaranteed upon receiving the payment fees on time. A hard copy of this letter will be mailed to your postal address upon receiving the payment fees.

Please be advised that even through you are a winner of Diversity Visa your Case Number/Confirmation Number will be provided only after you send the payment confirmation of the fees. Please do not contact us to ask for the Case Number/Confirmation Number.

If it would be necessary to contact the U.S. Department of state YOU MUST ALWAYS REFER TO YOUR NAME. The email is support@travel-state-program.org !

CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT: AUTHORITIES: The information asked for on this form is requested pursuant to Section 222 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Section 222(f) provides that the records of the Department of State and of diplomatic and consular offices of the United States pertaining to the issuance and refusal of visas or permits to enter the United States shall be considered confidential and shall be used only for the formulation, amendment, administration, or enforcement of the immigration, nationality, and other laws of the United States. Certified copies of such records may be made available to a court provided the court certifies that the information contained in such records is needed in a case pending before the court.

It is worth noting that http://educationusa.state.gov/ is a real website run by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  That and the exclamation marks are the only things right with this email.  The State Department on its website says:

The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants. All applicants should be familiar with information about DV scams provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Applicants are encouraged to review the rules and procedures for the DV program so that you know what to expect, when to expect it, and from whom.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt003.shtm

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1322.htm

Don’t get scammed, send no money, read up!

Domani Spero

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US Mission Nigeria: Yo! The scammers are current with the news, now uses the name of new US Ambassador to Abuja, Terence P. McCulley for bait

According to the US Mission in Nigeria, the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the U.S. Consulate in Lagos together receive over 4000 inquiries each year from Americans who have encountered internet scams.

The FBI has included the Nigerian Letter or 419 Fraud in its list of Common Fraud Schemes.  The U.S. Department of State had even issued a Guide to International Financial Scams which contains not only descriptions of common scams, but also sample e-mails and letters sent by perpetrators of each. Download it here.

Many of the latest scams involve people who claim to be U.S. citizens who are in Nigeria and in distress. Frequent stories involve robberies, fires, car accidents or delays at the airport by the authorities. But it looks like the scammers are updated on current news and are continuously refining their “trade.”

A DiploPundit reader has forwarded us the email below containing the name of purported sender as the new US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley. 

Perhaps, it is time for the State Department to issue an updated version of their 2007 scam guide to include the email reproduced in full below as well as similar ones posted here and here.

Another version here posted by  Aus Scambaiters includes the sender’s complete IP address and email header. This scam version purports to provide “compensation” to the victims of original email scam.  Obviously, this belongs to the self-propagating variety and we may see other versions in the future.  

We note that the scammer could not even be bothered to complete the cut and paste of ” I was the senior desk officer for Zai re (now Democratic Republic of th.”  The Democratic Republic of th? Right! And what planet is that?
 

Dear Sir:

My name is Terence Patrick McCulley, the new United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The United States Senate had confirmed my nomination on August 5 2010 after being nominated for this position by U.S. President Barack Obama on June 28, 2010. My credentials as the new Ambassador appointed were presented to His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria, on November 2, 2010. I am a career member of the senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor whose diplomatic career has been spent mostly in Africa or working on African issues. I served most recently as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, DenmarK. Prior to this, I was the U.S. Ambassador to Mali, and I have served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Tunisia, Senegal and Togo. Other overseas postings include Niger, South Africa, India and Chad.  In Washington, I was the senior desk officer for Zai re (now Democratic Republic of th

http://nigeria.usembassy.gov/biography.html

However, following the resolution of the meeting held with His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday with some members of the Federal House of Senate, an agreement was reached that the sum of $500,000.00 USD must be paid out to you in the form of a compensation for all the years you have wasted in waiting for your funds to be released. Hence, the $500,000.00 USD compensation fund has been instructed to be paid out to you in the form of a CERTIFIED INTERNATIONAL BANK DRAFT drawn on Standard Chartered Bank. The said BANK DRAFT will be packaged inside a U.S Embassy Official Envelope to be sent to you via Postal Mail at no cost to your mailing address. And the time frame for delivery is 72 hours, which is 3 days since it would be sent via a Postal Mail Service.

Meanwhile, a “Custom Clearance Certificate” must be obtained from the Nigerian Customs Authourity at a fee of $100.00 USD for a full clearance certification on the BANK DRAFT. Hence, the $100.00 dollar fee must be paid within 24 hours upon your receipt of this notification via western union or MoneyGram, so that all neccessary arrangement can be made ahead of time.

The fee should me sent directly to the “Embassy Protocol Officer” with the below information:

Recipient’s Name: JELILI OLADEJO
Destination: Lagos – Nigeria
Test question: Present Year
Test answer: 2011
Amount: $100.00 dollars

Please take note that the “Custom Clearance Certificate” and the BANK DRAFT will be packaged together inside the U.S Embassy Official Envelope for immediate despatch to your mailing address. Hence, you are advised to comply as requested to enable me discharge my official duty accordingly.

Congratulations!!!

Respectfully yours,

Terence P. McCulley
US Ambassador to Nigeria


We do not need the FBI to tell us this is a scam. 1) No American diplomat would be caught dead with a written mess like this; 2) Uncle Sam has a bleeding red budget, ask the US Treasury; no spare $500K hanging around for giveaways; 3) Destination: Lagos – Nigeria.

If you received a similar letter or email, contact your local U.S. Secret Service Office.For further guidance, please check on the U.S. Secret Service and Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud (4-1-9) Resources



Related items:
US Government Websites• Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – Internet Crime Schemes
• The “Nigerian” Scam: Costly Compassion
• Federal Bureau of Investigation – Common Fraud Schemes


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