Scam calls, emails, and text messages targeting international students are on the rise. Please stay alert and cautious to avoid falling victim to scams.
Please be aware and cautious of "scam calls". A scam call is a malicious call with the intention of illegally acquiring money or personal information from you. The caller may pretend to be from a government agency such as DHS, USCIS, or the IRS. They might already have information such as your name and visa category. If you are not familiar with these types of calls, it can be very alarming and scary to receive one. A natural reaction when you receive such a call is to want to comply with demands of money or personal information to resolve the issue. If you do fall victim to a scam, it is unlikely that you will get your money back. "Scam emails" or "scam text messages" also require caution on your part.
Reminders for handling a scam call, email, or text message:
If you receive a call demanding personal information, hang up immediately
Remember, government officials will never, under any circumstances, request payment from you in the form of gift cards of any kind (eBay gift cards, Visa or American Express gift cards, Amazon gift cards, etc.)
Remember, government officials will never threaten you or ask you for payment over phone, email, or text.
If payment is required from a US federal agency, such as USCIS, they will mail a letter on official stationery requesting payment. (You can bring these letters to our office for assistance.) How to report a call from a scammer:
If you ever receive a scam email or phone call, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
If you are not sure if an email or phone call is a scam, contact ISSS for help.
If you receive a suspicious email or call, claiming to be USCIS, you can contact the webmaster at [email protected]. (USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.
COVID-19 Specific Scam Alerts
It has been reported to ISSS that there is a screenshot of an alleged update from USCIS spreading news of B-1/B-2 visa extensions, off-campus work permits for F-1 students, and fee waivers.
At this time, USCIS has not announced any updates regarding visa extensions or working permits specifically related to the coronavirus pandemic. ISSS believes that this is a phishing attempt. If you receive this message, do NOT click the link. Spread news to your friends that this is not an official message from USCIS. For the official page from USCIS regarding special situations, please go to the USCIS website.
Remember that USCIS will never put out an announcement with grammatical errors such as “...cannot leave the country do to Corona Virus”, or beginning sentences without proper capitalization of letters.
It is important to never give out personal information over the phone or through email unless you are absolutely certain of the person you are speaking to. If someone calls you requesting information in order to gain access to COVID-19 tests, HANG UP!
If you would like information regarding testing in New Jersey, please refer to the New Jersey Department of Health Webpage or the Official New Jersey Coronavirus Hub Webpage
If you would like information regarding testing in New York, please refer to the New York Department of Health Webpage or the Official New York Coronavirus Hub Webpage.
Resources for More Information
Federal Trade Commission “Avoiding Scams” and “Common Types of Scams”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “Common Scams”, “Avoid Scams” and “Report Immigration Scams”