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Are Government Websites not even Safe?

I recently applied to the United States of America for a visa to visit their country (1st August), commonly know as an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and having been successful in my application I had to print off the webform directly from the US Department of Homeland Security website.

On the 8th August I received an email warning me that my visa was about to expire! This obviously aroused my suspicion as I had just paid for a two year visa.

The web address for the online application process was : https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

The email address warning about the expiry of the visa was: applyesta@esta-usa-cbp.com

Both addresses appear to be very similar and full of acronyms but on closer inspection you will see the differences are plentiful and if you are not vigilant enough you could easily be caught out. Both addresses have esta included also cbp but the official Department of Homeland Security address ends in .gov and the scam email address ends in .com – clearly NOT an official email address.

The thing that strikes me most about this scam is that both the electronically submitted form and the response to my application submission were completed on the US Department of Homeland Security website and nowhere during this process was my email address disclosed! Yet seven days later I received my email (sent to one of my work email addresses not my personal email address) informing me of my impending expiring visa! Coincidence?

It just shows you how vigilant you have to be!

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