The United States Embassy in San José issued an alert to Costa Ricans about the risk of scams with false job opportunities in the North American country.In recent months, the Fraud Prevention Unit of the diplomatic headquarters detected more than 100 cases of apparent scams with this modality.Most of the victims are people who were seeking temporary work visas to work in the United States.
Scammers trick these people into believing they can help them get a job or expedite the visa application process. In many cases, criminals pose as lawyers, recruiters, or employees of the United States Government.Contact is usually made through WhatsApp and social networks.
Scammers often make video calls to their victims and send them falsified documents.In exchange for fraudulent services, they demand payments ranging from $200 to $3,500, through money transfer platforms such as Western Union, PayPal, Venmo and Zelle, among others.
The Embassy’s recommendations
Through a statement, the United States Embassy listed some recommendations to avoid falling into scams:
- The United States Embassy never uses WhatsApp or video calls to communicate with visa applicants.
- The only official website to search for jobs in the United States is seasonaljobs.dol.gov.The official site to apply for a visa is www.ustraveldocs.com
- Visa applicants should never send money to accounts registered in the names of individuals. The United States Government does not use Western Union, PayPal, Venmo, or any other third-party service to receive payments for the visa application process, or any other costs associated with the immigration process.
- The visa application process does not require the applicant to provide exams, financial records, or have a bank account in the United States.
- Official email addresses for the United States Department of State end in @state.gov. Addresses of other federal departments and agencies also always end in .gov. Any other ending (such as .com, .org, or .us) may be an indicator of fraud, with the exception of the official ustraveldocs.com site.