A scam is an act performed by a dishonest person, group, or company that misrepresents itself, its skill, or its authority with the intent of getting money or something else of value.
ISS wants to make sure that international students are aware of scams and know how to protect themselves.
Please report any scam to ISS so that we can help address your questions, concerns, and take steps to prevent this from happening to other international students.
Career Placement / Recruitment Scams
International students can be targets for illegitimate recruiters. These "recruiters" may ask students to provide personal information that is not normally asked in the early hiring stages and message students from email domains that are not from the actual company—but appear legitimate. Additionally, these "recruiters" may claim to connect a student with a "project" or provide an internship opportunity after the student commits to using their services and pays a large fee using a wire transfer or gift cards.
Legitimate companies use an email address linked to the company domain, not a Gmail, Yahoo or other accounts. Legitimate employers will never ask for certain information (e.g. social security number) early in the hiring process. And they will not ask students to pay for placement services.
Students who are unsure of a company's correct domain should visit their website or contact International Student Services for assistance. For additional information about safety in the job search, visit students.case.edu/careers/students/tips/safejobsearch.html.
Consulate and Embassy Scams
It's been reported that people are receiving phone calls or messages about having to pick up a package/letter at the local Consulate Office or are being required to share personal, sensitive information to avoid being in trouble with the Consulate. Sometimes this is a voice recorded message while other times the caller then asks for credit card information or gives instructions about how to transfer funds to them.
Consulate and Embassy offices will NEVER call you. Consulate and Embassy officers will NEVER ask you for money. NEVER follow any of the instructions that a voice recorded message might give (like press "9" on your phone) or provide your social security number, bank or credit card numbers, or other personal information to anyone who calls for it. NEVER give this information out if it's requested by email, text message, or social media like Facebook or WeChat.
If you ever get a phone call or message like this, hang up or delete it and report it to the Fair Trade Commission for investigation.
Identity theft is a crime that occurs when your personal information (your name, date of birth, social security number, etc.) is stolen and used without your permission and knowledge. To learn more about identity theft and how to protect yourself, visit the CWRU Police Crime Prevention Tips and the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
One of the most common scams students experience is an individual calling them on the phone, identifying themselves as an officer or agent, and then requesting money. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will NEVER do this by phone. They will also never request payment by email. If you receive such a call or email, NEVER provide any bank information or personal details.
IRS / Tax Scans
If you receive a phone call from someone saying that taxes are owed or payment is due and they threaten arrest, this is a scam. It may sound legitimate because they provide an "officer" name and badge number or offers to transfer the call to someone posing as a consular official, FBI agent, or some other official. If you receive such a call, NEVER provide any bank information or personal details. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) NEVER collects funds by phone like this nor does USCIS.
If you ever receive an email about taxes or payment due, this is also a scam. USCIS officials will never ask for payment over the phone or in an email nor will the IRS. If those offices need payment, they will mail a letter on official stationery to you.
You may wish to report your experience to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc. If you are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS Webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org. USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.
Visit the Avoid Scams Initiative at uscis.gov/avoidscams for more information on common scams and other important tips.
For more information about tax-related identity theft visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/irsvideos
More information: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts
Other Scams and Social Media
Today it’s possible to find almost anything that you’re looking for on the internet or through social media. It’s extremely important that you never post or share any information, pictures, or videos that are intimate, revealing, embarrassing, incriminating, etc.
This may sound like obvious advice, but remember, once something is digital and on the internet, it’s no longer private; anyone can access it. If you wouldn’t want your family, friends, colleagues, or future employers to know or see something about you, keep it off the internet and don’t share it with others!
If you’re ever in the position of having compromising information, images, or videos posted on the internet, contact the police immediately.