THE United States (US) Embassy in the Philippines re-launched a public service campaign to prevent visa applicants from being victimized by scammers.
Dubbed as “#WalangSikreto” (No Secret), this information campaign aims to promote honesty among US visa applicants and combat the practice of employing visa fixers to ensure an approval.
Consular Manager Steve C. Harris said that the Walang Sikreto campaign has been re-launched to convey the message to the public that all the embassys potential clients should be aware of ongoing scams and fraudsters in order to protect themselves.
Beware of those folks who would take advantage of you. Go straight to the source. Go to our website (https://ph.usembassy.gov), he said.
Harris debunked rumors that exist about applying for US visas, and urged the public to be aware of fraud by seeking more information and reporting suspected fraud on the embassys official website.
We want to be straightforward and transparent as possible, he said.
He said that some of the scams involved untrusted source of information – could be a friend of a friend who claims they know someone from the embassy, could be from social media, and some asking for money in exchange for some benefits.
If you are a victim of this scam, carefully document what happened, write the dates when these happened, the people involved and take out as many details as you can; report to your local enforcement firms, go to your local police station and report it, go to your local NBI, or consider emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, he said.
He said prospective applicants should familiarize themselves with the process, whether it is applying for a non-immigrant visa at the US embassy or whether it is applying for a US passport for American citizens.
I recommend going to the website, checking out the information first and understanding the process, he said.
He also clarified that the US Embassy does not accredit any local travel agency for visa processing.
We do not accredit any local travel agency; so if someone says again that they can guarantee a US visa or come to their local agency because they have an insider way of going about it it is not true, you should be wary about it, he added. (PIA-Iloilo)