Beware of Scams

Scammers may impersonate an employee of a government agency such as the IRS, ICE, FBI, CBP, USCIS, or even a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Scammers may also impersonate university employees or offices. Learn more about common scams and be alert for suspicious calls, emails, and texts.

Know How to Identify Common Threats

Imposter Officials (Government or School) Calls

  • To inform you that you have violated an immigration law
  • To request personal information
  • To request payment for a visa fee
  • To request payment to fix your visa status
  • To inform you that you owe taxes and you should pay them now

In this case, don’t answer the call and block the sender. Keep in mind, any official agencies, like universities, the police, embassies/consulates, the IRS, or Immigration agencies, will NOT call you directly to discuss official business or require payments. In the U.S., emails and postal mail are the most common forms of official communication. Report the fraudulent call to the Federal Trade Commission and ISS staff.

Fake Opportunities (Employment, possessions, etc.) Email

  • You are offered a job you have yet to apply for
  • The salary offered is higher than usual
  • You do not have an interview in person or via Zoom with the camera on
  • Your interview is over text or chat
  • The terms of your employment are vague
  • The company says they will send you a check to buy computer equipment for you to work from home.
  • Contact is offering free person items of great value or monetary award
  • Contact asks for reply email or information

In this case, do not reply to the email or share any personal information. Forward the email to the Office of Information Services to report. Watch the “How to Spot Fake Job Offers” video for more information on avoiding these scams.

Phone Calls to Inform Illegal or Incorrect Activities

  • Caller pretends to be from an official government agency (police, FBI, Borders & Customs, home country post office, etc.)
  • Reports illegal activities/documents received in student’s name or incomplete/incorrect immigration documents
  • Called might transfer the call to various fake authorities
  • Caller demands student payment, ID, bank account information, or to install various apps
  • Caller might demand student keep situation confidential

In this case, do not share any personal information with the caller. Hang up the phone and report the call to the Federal Trade Commission and the Elmhurst University Department of Public Safety (630-617-3000).

Text Messages Asking for Payment or Using Links

  • Text message appears to be from delivery company, post office, bank, etc.
  • Text message asks you to click on a link to provide credit card/payment information for unpaid fees

In this case, do not click the link or share any personal information with the caller. Simply block the sender. If the text messages continue report the text messages to the Elmhurst University Department of Public Safety (630-617-3000).

Fake Housing/Rental Scams

  • Vacancies are listed on reputable housing websites but by scammers
  • You are asked to send money for the deposit before you can view the housing
  • You are told that the owner or landlord is out of town and will mail you the key
  • The rental fee is cheap – much cheaper than other housing – with photos of a beautiful apartment or house

In this case, cease contact and do not share any personal information. Report the listing to the Federal Trade Commission and your state attorney general. You can also report to the Elmhurst University Department of Public Safety (630-617-3000). You can review the FTC “Rental Listing Scams” page for more information.

How to Avoid Scams

The information below is provided by Consumer.

  • ICE, USCIS, SEVP, CBP, IRS, Police Officer – Government officers will NEVER call you and demand money.
  • Don’t wire money or use gift cardscryptocurrency or a payment app to pay someone who says they’re with the government.
  • Don’t give your financial or personal information to someone who calls, texts, emails, or messages you on social media and says they’re with the government.
    • If you think a call or message could be real, stop. Hang up the phone and call the government agency directly at a number you know is correct. If the call is a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Pressing numbers could lead to more calls.
  • Don’t click on links in unexpected emails, texts, or social media messages.
    • Scammers send emails and messages that look like they’re from a government agency but are designed to steal your money and personal information. Don’t click on any link, and don’t pass it on to others. Just delete the message.
  • Don’t trust your caller ID.
    • Your caller ID might show the government agency’s real phone number or name — like “Social Security Administration.” But caller ID can be faked. It could be anyone calling from anywhere in the world.

In addition, there are several government agencies that can serve as a resource for verifying information, such as:

If you find yourself in any of these situations:

Don’t panic! You can do the following instead:

If you got scammed or are unsure about a scam, you can always contact the Elmhurst University Department of Public Safety (630-617-3000) to report it and get help. One simple action can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble. 

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