Immigrants and international students are increasingly targeted by telephone and internet scams. Scam artists often pose as local law enforcement or a federal agent, claiming the student owes money and threatening legal action if the money is not paid. Frequently, scam artists spoof real government phone numbers to make it look as though they are calling from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Helpline or 911.
Scams seem to increase around times immigrants or international students are particularly vulnerable. For example, we hear reports from international students at the beginning of the school year, during tax season or when there are changes in immigration policies.
Do not be fooled. U.S. government agencies and local law enforcement will not ask for any form of payment over the phone. If you are contacted by a scam artist, you should:
- Hang up.
- Report the immigration scam to state officials and the Federal Trade Commission website or call 1-877-438-4338.
- If you are an international student or scholar, contact ISSS during Walk-In Hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can help you report the call, and gather information about these scams and provide support to people who have been affected.
- If you are a non-U.S. citizen student, contact us at email@example.com.
- If you receive a suspicious email from a umn.edu account, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
- ISSS: Protect Yourself from Scams and Identity Theft
- University of Minnesota Police Department Resources
- University of Minnesota Information on Avoiding Email Scams
- United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Beware of Immigration Scams
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Avoiding Scams Against Immigrants
- IRS Information to Avoid Tax Scams
- Minnesota Attorney General’s Office: Information about scams and how to avoid them