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Scams Targeting International Students Are on the Rise

August 28, 2015

As reported in the August Student and Exchange Visitor Program Spotlight, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to see an increase in the number of scams targeting unsuspecting international students. 

These scams are when strangers target individuals and mislead them in order to illegally receive money or personal information. They contact their targets in different ways, often by making threatening phone calls or leaving intimidating messages on social media

Scammers may target international students while they adjust to their new environment, because cultural and language barriers often make it difficult for international students to determine whether an offer for help or request for money is real or fake. 

Unfortunately, scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in how they target international students. Some scammers even know how to manipulate caller ID technology so that it appears they are calling from a legitimate office or agency. Scammers may also use personal information they illegally obtained about the student to scare the student into providing immediate payment or information. 

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

Help international students avoid scams by sharing this article with your network on social media using the hashtags #AvoidScams and #StudyintheStates. 

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