I received an interesting email this morning from one Aisha Al-Obeid, who evidently lives in Thailand. Here’s what it said (all spelling and grammar errors are in the original):
From: Aisha Al-Obeid To: undisclosed-recipients:; Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 17:27:38 +0700 Subject: Congratulations You Have Won U.S Green Card in DV-2008 diversity immigrant program
august, 2008 — 2009 www.usagcls.com
Asia Pacific Region
Congratulation! You are among those selected randomly as one of the lucky winners of the U.S Green Card in DV-2008 diversity immigrant program for fiscal year 2008. Please retain this letter and take it with you to your visa interview when needed.
Approximately 100,000 individuals were selected for further processing; However there are only between 50.000 &.55.000 diversity visas available under the FISCAL YEAR 2008 DIVERSTY VISA PROGRAM. Therefore, it is most important that you carefully follow these instructions to increase your chance of possible visas issuance.
Please read and follow all the enclosed instruction very carefully. ALL FORMS AND CROSPONDENCE must send to the Asia pacific consular center by email attach for security purpose at the above E-mail address. Please notify the Asia Pacific consular center of any change in address, addition or deletion of any other information which you believe may effect your application.
PLEASE COMPLETE AND RETURNS FORMS 230 PART 1,230 PARTS II, AND DSP-122 FOR YOUR SELF AND FORMS 230 PARTS 1 AND 230 PARTS II FOR ALL ACCOMPANY FAMILY MEMBERS TO THE ASIA PACIFIC CONSULAR CENTER.WRITE THE CASE NUMBER IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER OF EACH FORM.PLEASE MAKE SURE ALL BLOCKS ARE COMPLETED.
Please be advised that even though you send all the above listed documents to the APCC, your case may not schedule for an interview appointment until a visa number is available. Please do not call us to check when your case will be schedules. Always contact our consular center office in Bangkok for guidelines and direction. Also note that making enquiry in any local US Embassy in your country without our direction and approve is prohibited.
If is should be necessary to contact the Asia pacific consular center by telephone YOU MUST ALLWAYS REFER TO YOUR NAME AND THE CASE NUMBER EXCATLY AS THE APPEAR BELOW. Your case number should be clearly written in the upper right hand corner of ALL documents and the correspondences sent to the Asia pacific consular center.
Case number: 2007BK21783000 PA Name. ************** Preferences Categories: DV DIVERSITY Foreign State Chargeability: THAILAND Post: BANGKOK
Contact the Asia pacific consular center immediately after reading through the notification letter.
Contact Person: Mr. James Lewis. Telephone number: + 66-853330812 E-mail : email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site: www.usagcls.com
I receive innumerable emails with variants on the Nigerian Scam — people notifying me of a million-pound inheritance, or needing a reliable undisclosed recipient to transfer a large amount of cash from Iraq to the USA, or informing me that I won the Netherlands’ email lottery.
But this is a new one — a green card! After fifty-odd years in the USA I have at last won the right to live here legally.
I know that the Diversity Visa Lottery is a real State Department program, but the URL for the website listed in the scam email is not an official .gov address (and is different from the domain used for either of the email addresses).
So I decided to do a little investigation of www.usagcls.com.
– – – – – – – – –
It turns out that USAGCLS is “USA Green Card Lottery Service”. It’s got a very slick, official-looking website, with the Statue of Liberty and the flag and eagles and whatnot. On its sidebar are a number of links to official US government sites, including the White House and the State Department.
But it’s not an official government site, and is careful to notify you of that fact in the fine print at the bottom of the page.
It’s obviously a scam — they take your money and file your application for the Diversity Visa Lottery, which you could just as easily file yourself directly with the State Department. But what they’re doing is probably legal, as long as they don’t make promises they can’t deliver on.
The official State Department site says this about the DV program on its FAQ page :
How Much Does the Lottery Cost?
There is no fee for entering the diversity visa lottery. If you win, you must pay a fee for an immigrant visa and a separate visa lottery surcharge.
And in the instructions (pdf format) for the DV application you can find this notice:
No fee is charged for the electronic lottery entry in the annual DV program.
The U.S. Government employs no outside consultants or private services to operate the DV program. Any intermediaries or others who offer assistance to prepare DV entries do so without the authority or consent of the U.S. Government. Use of any outside intermediary or assistance to prepare a DV entry is entirely at the entrant’s discretion.
A qualified entry submitted electronically directly by an applicant has an equal chance of being selected by the computer at the Kentucky Consular Center, as does an entry submitted electronically through a paid intermediary who completes the entry for the applicant.
So USAGCLS is one of the unauthorized intermediaries providing assistance for applicants without the consent of the federal government. Not the most ethical business, taking the money of poor Third World people who just want to get into the Land of Milk and Uncle Sugar, but not technically illegal.
However, here’s the amusing part: the email I received is an unauthorized rip-off of USAGCLS. It’s a scam on a scam, and USAGCLS is not happy about people poaching on their turf. They even have their own scam warning:
Please be aware of scams through which some unscrupulous characters are trying to extract exorbitant payments from you. They are in NO WAY affiliated with USAGCLS, even though they take the liberty of using our name and web address in the letter.
So Aisha Al-Obeid is piggybacking on the USAGCLS scam with a blatantly illegal version, beyond the reach of the law in Bangkok.
Who says there ain’t no justice?
In the process of researching the above information, I learned a lot about the Diversity Visa Lottery. It’s designed to pull in fifty-five thousand new green card holders every year. The demand for a legal way into the USA is so high that it’s no wonder that the scammers have multiplied like mushrooms after a monsoon. They’ve outdone the State Department in enhancing their websites’ visibility, so that if you google “Diversity Visa Lottery”, you’ll find USAGCLS and other similar outfits at the top of the list, some of them boasting premium paid links.
With the keyword “diversity” as a part of its title, you know the program is a haven of trendy Multicultural high-mindedness. The mission of DV is to bring in a lot of people from countries which don’t send many immigrants to the USA every year.
So what countries are involved? HINT: if you’re from Europe, Australia, or New Zealand, forget it! We’ve got enough honkies here in America already; we’re looking solely for Brown People.
The application period for 2009 has already closed, but here’s the list of eligible countries as given in the instructions document (again, pdf):
|Burkina||Ghana||Sao Tome & Principe|
|Central African Rep.||Liberia||South Africa|
|Congo, Dem. Rep. of||Mali||Togo|
|Hong Kong (SAR)||Maldives||Thailand|
|Indonesia||Mongolia||United Arab Emirates|
Think of all those well-educated, intelligent, law-abiding folks in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK who are desperate to escape the PC Multicultural socialist hellholes that their countries have become. But we don’t want them; we want people from Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. We know that they can only enrich the rainbow quilt of diversity that was formerly known as the United States of America.
North Korea! How does anyone even mail an application form to the USA from the Democratic Republic, not to mention acquire an exit visa if they win?
55,000 is not a large number of people. It’s true that the winners are entitled to bring their wives and children with them, so that will enlarge the numbers a bit (no word about what a lucky Saudi contestant will do with his extra three wives).
Let’s be conservative and posit an average of five people per winning entry. That means that it will take more than ten years before we add even three million people, 1% of our population, through this program.
Still… has anyone ever demonstrated that it is the interests of the United States to reach out and pull in all this diversity? Do they enrich our country simply by coming from a failed state where goat husbandry is the basis of the economy?
What do we gain from all this wonderful diversity?