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Scams and Frauds Targeting International Students

As an international student in a distant land, it is important that students remain aware of their rights and duties and have clear information about immigration requirements and money management.

The wrong help can hurt. Review information about Common Scams on the USCIS website to avoid common immigration scams.

If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to USCIS at

The scammer will identify themselves as a police officer, government official, USCIS or ICE Agents, or university official and threaten dismissal from the university, deportation from the U.S., or dropped classes unless the student immediately repays money to the government or university.

The U.S. government and law enforcement agencies will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment. Though intimidating, remember that these callers are trying to scam you and they are not real threats!

  •  Demand that you pay taxes or debts without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes or debts, such as a prepaid debit card. Example: iTunes Gift Card Scam.

  •  Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

  • Use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal financial or tax issues.

If a student receives a threatening call or message from someone claiming to be a government or law enforcement official, they should:

  • Not give the person any personal or financial information. 

  • Try to collect contact information from the caller. 

  • End the conversation immediately if threats and intimidation persist. 

  • Contact their designated school official and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line

What to do if already a victim?

If you have paid and/or released sensitive information to a scammer, please do the following.

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