Posted on March 28, 2022

Important Tips For International Students To Avoid Scams

Scams are frequent in all parts of the world, and international students, as temporary residents in a foreign country, are not immune. Online frauds are among the most common crimes affecting overseas students in the United States, according to research from the National Center for Campus Public Safety. To prevent being a scam victim, it's important to be aware of some of the most popular frauds, as well as their methods of operation, which are frequently targeted towards students.

What is a Scam?

A scam is a deceptive attempt to get money or something of value through deception. Scammers are those who deceive others by lying and misrepresenting themselves in order to steal money or personal information. It's critical to safeguard yourself from those who could try to con you out of money or steal your identity.

Be aware of the following types of scams:

  • Scams involving immigration: Someone posing as a US immigration official or another government employee;
  • Scams involving the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States: someone claiming to be from the IRS telling you that you owe money;
  • Scams involving employment: someone claiming to be able to find you a job if you give them money (see section below);
  • Scams involving tuition: someone claiming to be able to give you a tuition discount if you utilize their service;
  • Scams on Craigslist: Someone pretending to be desperate to buy your item;
  • Scams involving apartment rentals include: someone professing to wish to rent your unit but having no intention of doing so;
  • Scams involving dating relationships: Someone pretending to be in a dating relationship via text or phone call and requesting money to meet in person;
  • Scams involving kidnapping: Someone contacts your parents, grandparents, or a loved one and pretends to have kidnapped you and is demanding ransom money in exchange for your life.
  • Scams from your home nation: Someone calls and claims to have damaging information about your family in your home country. They speak in your native tongue and say that if you transfer money overseas, they will assist your family.
  • Scams involving Social Security Numbers (SSNs): You receive a phone call informing you that your SSN has been compromised. In order to assist you, they will ask for personal information.

Calls from unknown numbers

Scammers would call students pretending to be a government official or a police officer. Receiving a call from a number that appears to be a government agency or police, with the caller claiming to be a government agent, is one of the most popular scam themes, according to Yale University.

They may claim that students owe them money or have committed fraud, and they may use intimidation tactics such as threatening jail or deportation to get students to act quickly. According to US News and World Report, some scammers may persuade students to buy gift cards and then give them the codes.

Emails that are phishing

Avoid becoming a victim of a scam by learning about the most prevalent scams that target students. Scammers frequently use email to gain sensitive information such as passwords, financial information, and the like.

Phishing emails are deceptive because they appear to be from a reputable company, such as a bank or a social networking site. They may use the logo of a well-known company or even have a URL that begins with "https://." Some students may even claim they are entitled to a tax refund.

If you have any doubts about the veracity of an email, you can always call the company and ask them to check it. Always double-check such emails. Your warning bells should be ringing if you see grammatical problems or suspect URLs.


Smishing is a type of phishing scheme that uses text. Perpetrators try to trick victims into thinking the text message is from a reputable company (such as a bank) and persuade them to disclose sensitive information such as bank account numbers.

Some may also try to dupe you into downloading malicious software. When receiving text messages, always be cautious and skeptical, especially if they ask you to reveal personal information, have grammatical problems, or contain offers that seem too good to be true. These SMS messages should not be used to download apps or click on links.

What should you do if you've been scammed?

Scams do not discriminate against international students. Scamming can be traumatic, as it can result in the loss of your savings and have a negative impact on your mental health. If you've been duped, seek help from your university, such as the in-house security staff or student counselors. Contact your university's counseling services for emotional help.

If you've received a scam email from someone posing as them, you should also consider emailing the legitimate organization. If you've lost money in a scam, the harsh reality is that you're unlikely to receive your money back unless you gave it to the scammer in cash or via a wire transfer.