PSA: immigration scams preying on international students

I got an email from the Rutgers ECE department about a new scam that has been preying on international students. Some readers of the blog may wish to be aware of this.

Scammers posing as immigration officials – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers, Department of State (DOS) officials, or local policemen are contacting international students, & scholars. They may ask for your personal information (such as SSN, passport number, credit card information), identify false problems with your immigration record, and ask for payment to correct the record.

These scams can be very sophisticated with a USCIS like number appearing on your caller ID, the caller knowing a lot of your personal information and so on. Here are a few pointers to bear in mind if you receive this kind of a fake “immigration” call:

  • Don’t wire/pay any money. USCIS will never call someone to ask for any form of payment over the phone.
  • Just hang up and don’t call back.
  • Call the real USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to report the issue.
  • Never give out your personal information. No matter who a caller claims to be, don’t give him/her your I-94 number, “A” number, visa control number or any other personal information. Hang up and call the real USCIS.

Apparently Rutgers had an incident involving a postdoc, where the caller posed as a police officer “and informed the scholar that he had immigration problems. This female caller had the scholar’s home address, cell phone number and SSN number. She informed the scholar that the problem can be resolved if he could make an immediate payment.”

More information can be found at the USCIS website.