Skip to main content


Please read through the possible scams that are circulating among international students.
Scammers might pretend to be employees from government agencies like the IRS, ICE, FBI, CBP, USCIS, or the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Stay informed about the variety of common scams and remain vigilant against any unusual calls, emails, or texts.

Common Threats

Impostor of Government Officer

  • IRS Impersonation Scams: Scammers call claiming you owe back taxes and must pay immediately using specific payment methods to avoid arrest.
  • ICE/FBI Threats: Fraudsters pose as law enforcement officials demanding payments or personal information under the threat of legal action.
  • USCIS Fee Scams: Individuals impersonate USCIS representatives to solicit payment for visa applications or status adjustments.
  • Embassy or Consulate Frauds: These scams involve fake communications from U.S. embassies or consulates, often related to visa or passport issues, demanding money.
  • CBP Extortion: Scammers pretend to be Customs and Border Protection agents, claiming they have detained a package in your name that requires a fee to release.

Impostor of College Officials

  • Tuition Fee Scams: Scammers may pose as officials from the college's finance department, contacting students via phone, email, or text message. They often demand immediate payment of tuition fees through untraceable methods like wire transfers or gift cards, threatening expulsion or late fees.
  • Scholarship and Grant Scams: Fraudsters target students with promises of guaranteed scholarships or grants for a fee. They might also impersonate real organizations, asking for personal information to "process" an application, which can lead to identity theft.

Fake Employers

  • Payment for Training: Scammers claim you need to pay for training or certification before starting the job.
  • Purchase of Equipment: You are told to buy equipment or software from specific suppliers to start working.
  • Overpayment Scam: You receive a check to buy supplies, but it's for more than the amount needed. The scammer asks you to send back the excess money, only for the original check to bounce later.
  • Data Harvesting: Fake applications designed to collect sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers or banking details, under the guise of employment paperwork.

Fake Housing

  • Phantom Rentals: Scammers advertise properties that don't exist or aren't available for rent, often using stolen photos from legitimate listings.
  • Advance-Fee Scams: Potential renters are asked to pay a deposit or first month’s rent before signing a lease or viewing the property in person.
  • Sublet Scams: Scammers pose as tenants with an urgent need to sublet their apartment, requiring a security deposit or rent upfront.
  • Fake Realtor Scams: Fraudsters impersonate real estate agents and collect fees for properties they have no authority to rent.

How to Avoid Scams

  • Government Agency Impersonation: Government officers will NEVER call you and demand money. If you get a call or receive a text message or email from sources who self-claim as government agencies, always verify the contact through official channels. 
  • College Official Impersonation: only trust communications that come from email addresses ending in Always verify suspicious emails by contacting the college directly through known and trusted channels. Contact information for all college departments can be found on the official website.
  • Fake Employers: Confirm job offers directly through the company’s official website or HR contact. Be wary of requests for payment for training or equipment. Generally, too-good-to-be-true offers (work remote/generous hourly pay/no skill requirement) are job scams.
  • Housing Scams: Always view the property in person before making any payments. Use reputable rental websites and verify the identity of the landlord or agent.

General Tips: Never share personal information or make payments to someone you haven’t verified. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never click on suspicious links. If unsure about whether you have come across a scam, contact the International Student Center.