Posted on: September 8, 2021 Posted by: Kamadi Amata Comments: 0

The link directs to a phoney webpage with a dubious free internet data offer.

Syndicated story by PesaCheck

website link shared on Facebook inviting users to apply for the United States of America 2021/2022 visa lottery is a HOAX.

The link shows an image of the US flag accompanied by the word “Visa.”

The link has also been shared on WhatsApp with a message stating that the online registration for the American Visa Lottery 2021 is now open.

Part of the message reads, “Take the chance of living in the USA and apply for the official US Green Card Lottery! The Green Card unlocks the door to the United States for thousands of USA fans every year”.

“It allows the lucky Green Card winners permanent residence as well as an unlimited work permit for the USA. Every year, the United States grants 55,000 Green Cards through the Green Card Lottery,” the message reads.

However, clicking the link does not direct one to the US Department of State website where applications for the Diversity Visa Program — also called “Visa Lottery” — are submitted.

The Department of State website states that it randomly selects applicants based on allocations of available visas in each region and country upon which the selectees win the chance to apply to become lawful permanent US residents. The E-DV website is the only means by which the department notifies selectees of their selection and the department expressly warns applicants against falling for scams relating to the immigration visa program.

A message that reads “deceptive site ahead” appears when a user clicks on the link, indicating that the website we are debunking is dubious.

When a user ignores the warning and continues, the website directs to a phoney page offering 20GB of free internet data instead of the promised American visa lottery form.

Clicking on the Get 20GB button opens up instructions directing the user to key in their telephone numbers to check if it is eligible to activate the free date.

Once the user does as instructed, a new message pops up confirming that their number is eligible to receive the internet bundles, valid for one month on their Android phone, computer, or iPhone. However, in order to activate the said internet bundles, the user must send the information to 12 groups on WhatsApp. This indicates that the website is a phishing scam out to mine personal information.

Additionally, the WHOIS information of the dubious website shows that it was registered on 20 June 2021, in Iceland, and the identity of the registrant is hidden.

Furthermore, the domain name of the dubious website is 20gb.xyx, which is different from the domain name of the US Department of State website, state.gov.

PesaCheck has looked into a website link inviting users to apply for the US 2021/2022 visa lottery and finds it to be a HOAX.

This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact-checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.

By partnering with Facebook and similar social media platforms, third-party fact-checking organisations like PesaCheck are helping to sort fact from fiction. We do this by giving the public deeper insight and context to posts they see in their social media feeds.

Have you spotted what you think is fake news or false information on Facebook? Here’s how you can report. And, here’s more information on PesaCheck’s methodology for fact-checking questionable content.

This fact-check was written by PesaCheck fact-checker Simon Muli and edited by PesaCheck deputy editor Rose Lukalo. The article was approved for publication by managing editor Enock Nyariki.

PesaCheck is East Africa’s first public finance fact-checking initiative. It was co-founded by Catherine Gicheru and Justin Arenstein, and is being incubated by the continent’s largest civic technology and data journalism accelerator: Code for Africa. It seeks to help the public separate fact from fiction in public pronouncements about the numbers that shape our world, with a special emphasis on pronouncements about public finances that shape government’s delivery of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) public services, such as healthcare, rural development and access to water/sanitation. PesaCheck also tests the accuracy of media reportage. To find out more about the project, visit pesacheck.org.

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PesaCheck is an initiative of Code for Africa, through its innovateAFRICA fund, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie, in partnership with a coalition of local African media and other civic watchdog organisations.