As we noted in “Google Downlinking in Action: Is Esther Dyson Stealing from Death Cab for Cutie?” we spotted Zedo, a company backed by Internet denizen Esther Dyson, selling ads on some unsavory sites. Zedo said they were pulling their ads last week. (Zedo’s Facebook is http://www.facebook.com/ZEDOadsolutions)
Despite their protestations about their ads appearing on illegal sites without their knowledge, we found another Zedo popup (an audio ad for Verizon) on H33T.com right next to ads served by the notorious Yieldmanager for a dating site and USAGC.org promoting an illegal site preying upon people seeking to participate in the U.S. State Department diversity visa lottery. You can read all about that scam at the FTC’s website FTC Consumer Alert: Diversity Visa Lottery: Read the Rules, Avoid the Rip-Offs. So maybe illegal green card services and dating are OK companions for Zedo’s customers? (By the way, we have determined that USAGC.org is currently under investigation by the FTC. This wasn’t just one banner for these two sleazeballs, there are many on H33T.com.) So here’s a tip for Ms. Dyson. If you don’t like fleas, don’t lie down with dogs.
And of course you can find lots of illegal green card lottery sites in Google search, including a paid ad for USAGreencardlottery.org:
Of course, USAGreencardlottery.org uses a Whois privacy service, and we all know how important privacy is in the post-privacy era, but their servers are registered to the Cloudflare CDN in San Francisco.
And before you ask–Google doesn’t give a rats patootie about whether they are selling ads to someone who preys on those in the world who aspire to freedom. Yep, real scum.
Given the amount of U.S. Government work they do, you would think that someone at Google would already know the following (courtesy of the FTC consumer fraud folks). Or they could just use their brains since they only hire those who speak to God. Or just ask Google’s resident Most Interesting Man in the World and former advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State, Jared Cohen. Stay thirsty, my friend.
If you or someone you know is trying to get a green card — the right to live in the United States permanently — be aware that unscrupulous businesses and attorneys are looking for that information. They’ll claim that, for a fee, they can make it easier to enter the U.S. Department of State’s annual Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) program or increase your chances of being selected. They may use other names for the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, like the DV lottery, the visa lottery, or the green card lottery.
The DV program offers up to 55,000 visas each year for people who want to immigrate to the U.S. Applicants selected in the random drawing are notified by the U.S. State Department, and then are told about the next steps in the process of applying for an immigrant visa. The State Department doesn’t authorize any other organization or private company to notify applicants to the Diversity Visa program about the next steps in the application process for their visas.
You can find instructions on how to prepare and submit entries for the random drawing and the dates of the registration period at www.dvlottery.state.gov. You must submit your entry to the DV program online at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the annual registration period. The State Department doesn’t accept paper entries or mail-in requests. You must include all the required biographical information about you, your qualifying spouse, and any children you have who are under 21 years old….
Protecting Yourself from Fraud
The FTC says knowing how the State Department’s Diversity Visa program works is the best way to protect against these scams. For example:
- There’s no charge to enter the DV program. You can enter on your own at www.dvlottery.state.gov. You’ll need to answer a few questions and provide passport-style digital photographs. Once you’ve submitted your entry, you’ll get an acknowledgment from the State Department, as well as a unique confirmation number.
Hiring a business or an attorney to enter the DV program for you is your decision, but the person you pay must follow the same procedure as you would. Your chance of being selected is the same, whether you submit the entry yourself or you pay someone to do it for you.
- Submit only one entry.If you — or someone working on your behalf — submits more than one entry for you, all of your entries will be disqualified. Spouses who are eligible for the DV program can apply separately; the spouse who is not selected can apply for a Diversity Visa based on the selected spouse’s entry. That’s the only legitimate way to increase your chance of entering the United States through the DV program.
- Selection of entries is random. The DV selection process takes place through a computer-generated random drawing. There is no way to increase an applicant’s chance of selection.
- The State Department doesn’t notify selected applicants by mail or by email. Beginning with the DV-2012 program, entrants are responsible for checking the status of their applications through the Entrant Status Check at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
- There is no charge to enter the DV program random drawing.Do not send fees with your application either online or through a wire transfer. If you are selected, you will pay the appropriate visa application and program fees in person at the U.S. embassy or consulate on the day of your visa interview.
- The only website to use to enter the DV program random drawing is www.dvlottery.state.gov. Visa and passport application forms are free online at www.travel.state.gov. Don’t use websites that promise government travel or residency documents online or by mail because applications for U.S., visas, U.S. passports, green cards, and other travel and residency documents are processed in person before an officer of the U.S. government.
- Keep a close hold on your personal documents.Unless you have an established relationship with a business, don’t mail birth certificates, passports, drivers’ licenses, marriage certificates, Social Security cards, or any other documents with your personal identifying information to any person or business that is promising to complete your application for travel or residency documents. These businesses may use your information to commit identity theft.
- If a website address or domain name doesn’t end in .gov, it is not a site of the U.S. government. Some websites imitate U.S. government sites: some may use domain names that sound like government agencies; others may use emblems (eagles, flags, or other American images like the Statue of Liberty or the U.S. Capitol) that look like they represent U.S. government agencies, or official seals, logos, and links to government sites; and others list a Washington, D.C., mailing addresses. Scam sites may charge for government forms. Don’t pay: government forms and instructions for completing them are free from the U.S. government agency that issues them.