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Protect Yourself From Scams

Unfortunately, international students and scholars are targets of scams in the US.

An example of a scam may be an email sender or caller will claim that they are contacting you from a US government agency (DHS/USCIS/ICE, IRS, FBI, police, etc.) regarding an important, time-sensitive matter that requires your immediate attention. These people are scammers and a common scam method is to call on the telephone and demand money or personal information under false claims.

If you get any suspicious phone calls, here are some tips to avoid being scammed:
  1. Do not provide or confirm any personal information, such as your name, date of birth, social security number, bank account, credit card info, passport number, etc. even if the scammer who called you have your personal information, or if the caller ID seems legitimate. It is a scam.
  2. Do not buy them gift or cash cards. Do not wire or transfer money to them. Just hang up the phone.
  3. Speak to someone you trust about the call. Please also contact your International Student Advisors, even if the call is not F-1 status related. 
  4. If you are convinced the call is real, make sure to ask for the caller's full name, title, agency, and call back number so you can either follow up if the case is legitimate, or report the scam to the police.
  5. If you receive a call or an email telling you to make a payment immediately by phone or a hyperlink, or to withdraw or wire transfer funds right away, simply decline and hang up the phone. If this is a legitimate bill or fine, you should have received written correspondence before the call.
  6. The US federal government (IRS, DHS, USCIS, etc.) will never call a student to ask them to pay anything over the phone.

Useful websites:
USCIS - Avoid Scams
USCIS - Common Scams
Study in the States - Protect Yourself From Scams
FTC - Phone Scams
IRS - Tax Scams Video
IRS - Scam Tips