Students: Protect Yourself from Immigration Scams
April 1 is recognized as April Fools’ Day in the United States – a day when people play practical jokes on their families, friends or neighbors. While watching out for these tricks, which are usually harmless, also beware of dangerous scams you could encounter while studying in the United States. Scams are when strangers target unsuspecting individuals and lie to them in order to illegally receive money or personal information.
This April Fools’ Day, do not become a victim of a scam or fraud. Here are reminders of common scams and tips to avoid them:
Scam: If a stranger gives you misleading information or asks for personal information, it could be an immigration scam. When applying for a benefit, like working, driving or obtaining a Social Security number, someone may try to steal your personal information.
- Tip: Only use information and resources from official government websites, such as Study in the States and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Tip: Never give strangers your personal information, including website passwords or usernames.
- Tip: Visit USCIS's website for more information about immigration scams and how to avoid them, including explanations about some of the most common scams.
Scam: Some commission-based recruiters may tell you that you must go through them to get a student visa or gain acceptance to a U.S. school.
- Tip: You may, but do not need to work with a recruiter to study in the United States. Your school should meet your own goals and must be certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
- Tip: Study in the States offers free resources to learn about the international student process such as the Study Guide to the States, as well as the school search page where you can find an SEVP-certified school.
- Tip: The U.S. Department of State's website offers free information on applying for student visas.
If you suspect an email or website is unsafe, talk with your designated school official or call the SEVP Response Center at 703-603-3400 before you submit any personal information.