Visa, Immigration, and Other Fraud
Impostor or Fraudulent Websites
The Department of State, Visa Services advises the public that only internet sites including the ".gov" indicator are official government Websites, for our agency offices located in the United States. We are proud to have more than 200 Embassies worldwide. While many of these Embassy Consular Section Websites have the ".gov" indicator in their internet address, a number do not. The Department of State, Visa Services website does link directly to all Embassy Consular Section Websites abroad at http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1332.html. This is a useful way for the public to access Consular Section Websites. Visa applicants are advised to be cautious in all dealings with companies that claim to offer any assistance in obtaining U.S. visas.
United States citizens should be alert to attempts at fraud by persons claiming to live in Moldova who profess friendship or romantic interest over the Internet. Correspondents who quickly move to discussion of intimate matters could well be the inventions of scammers. If they are after your money, eventually they will ask for it. Sometimes the fraudsters send scans of fake U.S. passports or U.S. visas in order to bolster their case.
Once a connection is made, the correspondent typically asks the U.S. citizen to send money for living expenses, travel expenses, or "economic solvency funds." Sometimes, the correspondent notifies the American citizen that a close family member has suffered an "accident" and is in need of immediate monetary assistance to cover medical bills. Other variations of this confidence scam have emerged of late, all with the principal goal of soliciting money from the U.S. citizen.
The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the correspondent. In the majority of cases reported to the embassy, the correspondent turned out to be a fictitious persona created only to lure the U.S. citizen into sending money.
U.S. citizens may refer to the U.S. Customs & Immigration Service for authoritative information about the immigration process and the true costs involved.
They may arrange to prepay for a plane ticket directly with the carrier rather than wiring money for transportation to the traveler.
If the correspondent provides an image of a purported U.S. visa as proof of intention to travel, the U.S. citizen may contact the United States Embassy in Chisinau at Chisinau-CA@state.gov to ascertain the validity of the visa.
Other Impostor or Fraudulent Websites and E-mail
A few other Websites may try to mislead customers and members of the public into thinking they are official Websites. These Websites may attempt to require you to pay for services such as forms and information about immigration procedures, which are otherwise free on the Department of State Visa Services Website, or overseas through the Embassy Consular Section Websites. Additionally, these other Websites may require you to pay for services you will not receive. These web sites may contact you by email to lure you to their offer.
Additionally, be wary of sending any personal information that might be used for identity fraud/theft to these websites.
Immigration Related Websites
Many other non-governmental Websites (e.g., using the suffixes ".md," ".com," ".org" or ".net") provide legitimate and useful immigration and visa related information and services. Regardless of the content of other websites, the Department of State does not endorse, recommend or sponsor any information or material shown at these other websites.
A Few Words about the Diversity Visa Program
There have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. Government have sought money in order to "complete" lottery entry forms. To learn more, please see the Federal Trade Commission Warning. All information about the 2011 Diversity Visa lottery is available from the Department of State Diversity Visa Lottery Website. Applicants selected in the Diversity Visa random drawing are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center, and provided instructions on how to proceed to the next step in the process. No other organization or company is authorized by the Department of State to notify Diversity Visa lottery applicants of their winning entry.
How Do I Report Internet Fraud or Unsolicited Email?
If you wish to file a complaint about Internet fraud, please see the econsumer.gov Website, hosted by the Federal Trade Commission, which is a joint effort of consumer protection agencies from 17 nations at http://www.econsumer.gov/english/ or go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center.