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Scams/fraud targeting international students and scholars

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Imposter scams are on the rise. Imposters are individuals who pretend to be someone else (often a government agency or official) in order to obtain personal information or money. Scammers are increasingly targeting students, and international students in particular.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a government agency or law enforcement, stating you have an issue with your Social Security Number, immigration status, or financial account, be suspicious. Scammers use sophisticated tactics and apply pressure to make you believe that you must take immediate action. They often threaten arrest or legal action if you do not agree to make a payment via cash, pre-paid debit card, gift card, bitcoin, wire transfer, etc.

NEVER send money, give out your Social Security Number, bank account information, passport information, credit card number, or other sensitive information to anyone who calls and asks for it.


Follow these tips to help protect your money and personal information:

  • Be suspicious of any call from a government agency asking for money or information. Government agencies don’t use threats and they don’t call with demands for money, or promises of money.
  • Don’t trust caller ID, it can be faked
  • Check with the real agency, person, or company. Don’t use the phone number or website they give you, look it up yourself.
  • Do not trust callers asking you to pay them by wire transfer, gift cards, or cryptocurrency
  • Do not trust callers who indicate that you can’t tell anyone about your situation


If you think you have been the victim of a scam:

  • Contact local law enforcement and file a police report
  • Contact Legal Services for Students if you have questions or need advice related to a scam issue
  • Contact your embassy for support
  • Contact your bank or credit card companies, request a freeze on your accounts as needed
  • Change logins, passwords and PINS for your accounts as needed
  • Report identity theft and get a recovery plan

Additional resources:

Learn how to recognize scams. Protect your money and yourself.




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