Receiving Scam Calls


Do not become a scam victim or identity theft victim

   Scam Calls

Many international students report that they have received phon calls from people impersonating the police, a law enforcement agency, or a representative of a U.S. government agency. ISS wants you to be aware of these types of scams in case it happens to you. Unfortunately, this is very deceiving because they call using a process called caller ID spoofing, technology that modifies a phone number to appear as a different one. The phone number you see might belong to an actual agency or organization but the number is being used falsely and the person on the phone is not a legitmate representative of that agency or organization (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caller_ID_spoofing).

A common scenario is that the victim is told he/she owes money for tuition, unpaid taxes, or outstanding arrest warrants and payment must be made promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, or dismissal from the university. In many cases, the callers become aggressive, hostile and insulting. These con artists have access to a lot of the victim’s personal information through social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter etc, which makes them sound very convincing.


The U.S. government and law enforcement agencies WILL NEVER:
 
  • Call to demand immediate payment. Though intimidating, remember that these callers are trying to scam you and they are not real threats!
  •  Demand that you pay taxes or debts without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes or debts, such as a prepaid debit card.
  •  Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal financial or tax issues.

Some scam calls are directed towards awarding you scholarships for paying your taxes on time and maintaining criminal free status. The impostor agency asks for a very small “processing fee” or “application fee” to transfer the money to you. Remember, these are also scam calls. The U.S. government does not make these calls.
 
Scammers can be very aggressive and tricky. They may threaten you with jail time or deportation if you talk to anyone else or do not meet their demands.  They can make the phone number they are calling from look like the police, U.S. government or law enforcement agencies.  This is called “spoofing.”  Even if the call says it is a real agency's number, 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.” 
 
If you are contacted by someone requesting payment for any debt or awarding you scholarship with which you are not familiar, be exceedingly cautious because it is most likely a scam. Do not panic when on receiving such calls. ISS urges you to hang up the phone if you receive this type of call and report it to University Police Department at (979)-845-2345 or the College Station Police Department at (979) 764-3600.
 
*If you pay scammer, you lose the money. If you provide them sensitive information, you may become the victim of identity theft. 
 

   Phishing Emails

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 a fake link in a email.
 
As a reminder, if you receive a suspicious email, or know an email is a phishing attempt, your best course of action is to forward the email as an attachment to TAMU IT at helpdesk@tamu.edu. With the email highlighted in your inbox or open, press Crtl + Alt + F. This will open a new email with the suspicious email as an attachment. Forward this to helpdesk@tamu.edu.
 
*If you pay scammer, 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 a scammer, please do the following.
 
Important Links
Local Scams Reported to the University Police
For more information regarding IRS scams, please visit www.irs.gov
https://support.apple.com/itunes-gift-card-scams

News Coverage
Texas A&M University Police Warning of Scam Targeting Students
Bryan-College Station Residents Getting Fake Calls from IRS