Current Ongoing Scams Involving Financial Aid
- September 6, 2022
Recently, our IT team became aware of an ongoing scam that targets international students by using spoofed phone numbers that appear to show calls originating from the student’s government agencies, including immigration offices and consulates. The scammers then claim that there is evidence that the student has been involved with a crime and that the student must pay a fine or surrender their money for investigation.
Students should be aware of unsolicited phone calls from individuals claiming to be from government agencies, and independently verify the authenticity of communications. Authenticity should be verified through a known and trusted avenue, such as independently calling the organization or visiting the organization’s physical location (such as the nearest consulate.) Since scammers spoof phone numbers to make it appear they are calling from legitimate organizations, searching the phone number online or relying on caller ID are not sufficient means for verifying authenticity.
As a reminder, students, faculty, and staff should all be cautious of anyone requesting they provide personally identifiable information, financial information, or money. Scammers will use threats in an attempt to coerce their victims into quickly providing personal details. If you suspect a call is legitimate, the best step is to ask for the caller’s name, hang up, and call the agency using an authenticated phone number to verify the claims.
Unlike a legitimate government agency, scammers often demand payment by wire transfer, gift card, or virtual currency. These forms of payment are difficult to track and almost impossible to recover. A legitimate government agency will never initiate contact with a student and demand immediate payment.
If you believe you or anyone you know was a victim of this scam, report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov.