An interesting combination between a traditional deceit and a somewhat innovative lottery scam is the US Green Card Lottery Scam. The combination of terms itself should raise the alarm flags, because it makes no sense whatsoever for the United States authorities to run such a venture. While it is perfectly true that some people get to win the green cards, the waiting list is huge and it is impossible to be nominated for a green card unless you sign up.
This doesn’t stop cyber criminals from testing the waters and what they do is to send an avalanche of e-mails to random recipients, hoping that some of them would be fooled. There are several ways in which they run this operation, but recently they chose to imply that they work together with the US Embassy in London. Recipients are instructed to send a small amount to London via Western Union, telling them that this sum is necessary for paperwork.
It goes without saying that those who have frequently applied for the US green cards are thrilled at the prospect of finally getting one and are more likely to respond. On the other hand, they should be more aware of the fact that the Diversity Visa (DV) Program is absolutely free and we shouldn’t be expected to pay a dime. In fact, the authorities are constantly reminding people that those who were lucky enough to be selected for a green card won’t be charged, so they shouldn’t trust those requesting money in any form. Check out http://jobsearch.about.com/od/work-united-states/a/visa-scams.htm for the heads-up.
For the scam artists, this particular deceit is the Holy Grail because it provides them with an excellent reason to ask for personal information. People who aspire to become green card recipients expect to be asked private questions and don’t find it excessive to be requested to give some personal data. This is exactly what the scammers are counting on, because the more they know about a person, the easier it is to pressure them into sending money.
Sometimes they don’t go straight to the final step and instead of requesting money to be sent to a specified account, they try to collect as much information as possible. The trick of involving the US Embassy in London is relatively new, but there are similar ways that the bad guys routinely use. As long as they can convince people to send money out of country via Western Union or other services that don’t perform comprehensive identity checks, they are unlikely to be caught.
The US Green card lottery scam is just one of the many attempts that cyber criminals resort to on a daily basis, but it is one worth paying attention to. There is no point in taking a leap of faith over the Internet because those things that sound too good to be true usually are and the consequences of being naïve can be devastating. Stay on the safe side and never disclose personal information to people who promise amazing benefits, being that money or once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.