From Fermilab Today, August 4, 2009
Some laboratory employees recently received a fraudulent e-mail message that appeared to come from the U.S. Department of State.
The message informs the recipient that he or she has been chosen to participate in a diversity immigration program. It then asks the recipient for several pieces of personal information, including his or her address, passport number, phone number, marital status, age and occupation. It also asks for a participation fee of between about $500 and $800.
This is not a legitimate message. Although it looks real and could describe a real program, it is an attempt to steal sensitive information through electronic communication, a technique known as phishing.
Several clues should let you know that you cannot trust this message.
First, the sender purports to work for the State Department. But the e-mail address to which it asks the recipient to send information ends in .com, not .gov, meaning that it is not registered at a government domain.
Second, the message is not logical. If you have been selected for a spot in a diversity immigration program, the State Department should already have your information. And you should not have to pay a fee if you were chosen.
If you receive a similar e-mail and want to check on its legitimacy, you can call Fermilabís Visa Office, x4203, to ask about it. You can also report it to the Service Desk at x2345 or by e-mail at email@example.com.