Scams are unfortunately becoming increasingly sophisticated and common in the United States. Please be aware of scammers posing as government/immigration/law enforcement officials requesting payment or personal information. Some scammers will manipulate caller ID technology so that it appears they are calling from a legitimate office or agency (e.g., FBI, IRS, USCIS, DHS, ICE, police). This is called spoofing. Scammers may also use personal information they legally or illegally obtained about students to scare individuals into providing immediate payment or information. Everyone should be careful about what personal information they share on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.).
Tips to Avoid Scams
In many instances, scammers will:
- Claim they are from a U.S. agency or law enforcement.
- Provide some pieces of your directory or confidential information (e.g., passport number, SSN, employer) to try to convince you they are legitimate Identify false problems with your immigration record, work authorization, taxes etc.
- Threaten deportation or arrest.
- Tell you not to tell anyone since you have a legal issue.
- Ask for an immediate payment to correct the issue.
- Encourage you not to get off the phone until the payment has been received.
If you receive a threatening call or message from someone claiming to be a government or law enforcement official:
- Do 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 ISSS and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line.
Please be aware of these common scam techniques:
- Requests for payment by gift cards: No reputable business or government agency will ever tell you to buy a gift card to pay them. Only scammers will tell you to buy a gift card.
- Phishing: Scammers use phishing by sending an email or text that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company or from an online payment website or app. While real companies might communicate with you by email, legitimate companies won’t email or text with a link to update your payment information.
- Spoofing: Some scammers will manipulate caller ID technology so that it appears they are calling from a legitimate office or agency (e.g., FBI, IRS, USCIS, DHS, ICE, police). This is called spoofing.
- Intimidation: Scammers will try to scare and threaten you. They may threaten legal action such as arrest or deportation.
- Creating a crisis or a sense of urgency: Scammers are experts at convincing their target that this is an urgent and important situation. They try to convince you that they are in trouble, that they must act now to avoid arrest, deportation, or a higher fine. They say that you need to send payment or a deposit immediately for something important like an apartment, car, or laptop.
- Request for personal information: Be very suspicious when someone calls or e-mails you and asks for any personal or financial information such as your address, passport number, social security number, bank or credit account information, passwords, etc.
- Federal Trade Commission
- Colorado Attorney General’s Office
- Reporting Immigration Scams Outside of Colorado
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tip Line (if applicable)
- Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line (if applicable)
If you are the target of a scam, you may want to contact the following on-campus offices to seek additional support or assistance: