Ukrainian fraudsters are duping the State Department’s diversity visa program to extort cash from Ukrainian citizens and gain access to American Social Security numbers, a new report by the department’s inspector general alleges.

“Organized fraud rings masquerading as travel agencies have taken control of the Diversity Visa program in Ukraine,” the report claims.

Begun in 1990, the diversity visa program allows citizens from underrepresented countries to vie for one of 50,000 visas available through a yearly raffle system. Prospective immigrants need only send a photo, basic biographical information and a signature to be entered into the computerized lottery.

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