You may receive a call from someone who claims to work for the United States government, for example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Sometimes, they will claim to be from local law enforcement. They will demand that a student pay money and/or give personal information immediately. THIS IS FAKE!!!! DO NOT PAY THEM THE MONEY!!! DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OR CREDIT CARD NUMBER!!!!
Do not become a scam victim or identity theft victim
The term used in the United States for this activity is “scam”. A scam is “a dishonest scheme; a fraud.”
Government agencies and law enforcement will NOT demand immediate payment over the phone or by wire. They will NOT demand you release your personal information over the phone. They will NOT demand you pay with a wire or a pre-paid debit or credit card or demand you provide them a credit card or debit card number.
The scammers are very aggressive and tricky. They will threaten you with jail time or deportation if you talk to anyone else or do not meet their demands. They make the phone number they are calling from look like the IRS or DHS or the Sheriff’s office. This is called “spoofing.” Even if the call says it is the IRS, it probably is not.
Please do not fall victim to this thievery and trickery. If the scammers call you, HANG UP. Do not talk to them. They are very good at keeping people on the phone and isolating the victim. Do not engage them in a battle of wit. They are good at getting sensitive information from victims such as passport numbers, credit card numbers or social security numbers. This is information that can be used for identity theft. Identity theft is “the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person's private identifying information, usually for financial gain.”
The scammers may also try to get your sensitive information through email. This is called “phishing.” Phishing is “the activity of defrauding an online account holder of financial information by posing as a legitimate company.” Do not send sensitive information by email or by clicking on the fake link in the email.
If you pay them, you lose the money. If you provide them sensitive information, you may become the victim of identity theft.
What to do if already a victim?
If you have paid and/or released sensitive information to the scammers, please do the following.
International Student Services
Texas A&M University Police
Internal Revenue Service
Scam Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission
10 Ways to Avoid Fraud
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)