The U.S. Department of State has contacted all U.S. schools who sponsor international students and scholars about a big problem: scams. Common types of scams occur by phone, mail, and through the internet.
- Callers have identified themselves as officers from: The Social Security Administration, the FBI, Homeland Security, ICE, USCIS, the IRS, District Attorney, and local police in the U.S. or from abroad.
- Recently, phone numbers appearing on caller ID are spoofed so that they appear to be from the actual agency the caller pretends to be from.
- Callers are aggressive and authoritative, using convincing key words, and threatening arrest and deportation if instructions are not followed.
- Callers ask you to purchase gift cards to make payments.
SSN: "Your Social Security Number has been hacked."
DHL: "You have an undeliverable package."
IRS: "You owe taxes and you will be deported if you don't pay."
Embassy: "You have an important message from the XXX consulate in New York."
911: "XXX is arrested and needs money for bail."
Bank Account: "Your bank account has been hacked. Transfer your money to a secured account that we provide to you."
- Do not pick up a call from an unknown caller. If it is important, the caller will leave a message.
- The U.S. government will not demand immediate payment. You will not be arrested or deported if you don't pay a bill immediately.
- If you are asked to purchase gift cards to provide payment, it is a scam.
- Do not rely on Google to verify Caller ID.
- When in doubt, visit Brandeis Public Safety in person. They are located in the Stoneman Building.
- Letter to collect taxes that looks like it is from the IRS.
- Letter claims to be from a collection agency and threatens legal action unless you pay a fee.
- Remember: fraudulent documents are easy to create.
- Bring the letter to the ISSO or Public Safety if you are not sure about it.
- Online Sales: Scammer prey on people who look for affordable products and housing. Often demands immediate payment or deposit.
- Online Job Applications: Employment scams trick you by offering guaranteed jobs or work visa sponsorship.
- Online Dating: Scammer pretend to be prospective companions, often via dating websites, apps, or social media. They ask for money, gifts, or personal details. Some threaten to make your picture or video public if you don't pay.
- Unexpected money/winnings: Scammers trick you into believing that you've won a prize.
- If a sale is too good to be true, proceed with caution.
- Scammers can easily fake an official-looking email.
- Review your privacy and security settings on social media. Be careful when sending your personal pictures or videos that can potentially be used against you in the future.
- It is unlikely that you will win prize/money for anything that you are not aware of.
The ISSO is here to help you! Talk to us if you are not sure about something. If you are a victim of a scam, we are here to support you.
Protect your personal information, account information, and social media. Scammers may be based in your home country and speak your native language. Be sure to protect your non-U.S. account information as well.
Spot a Fake
The U.S. Government will not demand immediate payment. When asked to transfer money or purchase gift cards immediately, it is a scam. When they tell you to keep it a secret, it is a scam.
Visit Brandeis Campus Police and the ISSO for assistance. You will not get in trouble for telling us about a criminal or suspicious activity.