Tips to Avoid Scams

Current Scam Alert

Recently, there has been an increased scam threat targeting international students.
Examples of these scams include:

  • Students receive emails from fraudulent internship programs in an attempt to gain access to their bank account information. Recently, we have seen this type of scam specifically with UNICEF and WHO internships. Hackers have used university emails to contact students. 
  • Students are being contacted by fraudulent callers using the SEVP Response Center (SRC) phone numbers (703-603-3400 and 800-892-4829). The fraudulent callers claim to be SRC representatives and are inquiring about Form I-94 documents and asking for information about money transactions. 
  • Students are approached and told to not contact family or respond to family calls until further notice or your family will be harmed. They then contact the family and falsely claim the student was kidnapped and demand ransom.
  • Students receive calls from people claiming to be the IRS.
  • Parents are called in the home country with information about the student.
  • Students receive calls from individuals claiming to be USCIS with an arrest warrant.
  • Students receive calls from individuals posing as ICE Agents indicating that the student has an active arrest warrant and asking for money to vacate the warrant.

These are only a few examples. Please be extremely vigilant when receiving a call like this, do not share any personal/family or financial information over the phone or online, and if you suspect anything, immediately contact the police (university police or the Metropolitan Police). You should also contact ISSS by phone or email or walk in to ISSS during the week 9:00 am-5:00 pm.

General Information About Scams

Scammers are persistent, authoritative, claim immediate payment or personal information. They usually say you either owe money or have committed some kind of fraud. Please contact ISSS if you feel you are facing a situations similar to the ones below are aware of another member of the AU community being at risk:

  • Callers identifying themselves as law enforcement or Department of Homeland Security Officers and asking money for any number of reasons and threaten you with deportation if you fail to make payments. Do not be fooled by the caller ID even if the phone number may seem to belong to local police.
  • Mail claiming the above or providing you with a phone number to call for outstanding student fee payment.
  • Online scams or Emails promising a Green Card if you register for the Lottery.
  • Receiving PayPal, Craigslist, or EBay emails requiring payment for things other than you are sure about or extra payments for your own postings.
  • Temporary job placement firms, consultants, or agencies promising job placements to avoid the 90-day unemployment if you complete forms or reply to questions with your SS number, DOB, Bank account information, etc.
  • Job placement service for rewriting your resume with false information for jobs you otherwise do not qualify.
  • Received a check in the mail unexpectedly from someone you do not know.

If you are a Chinese student, you can see a message from the Chinese Embassy about scams targeting Chinese students here.

Support Services During Challenging Times


  • International Student & Scholar Services
  • Kay Spiritual Life Center
  • Counseling Center
  • Academic Support and Access Center
  • Dean of Students
  • Wellness Center
  • Center for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Any Member of the AU Community including Faculty, Advisers, Administrators

In the Community

Metropolitan Church on Nebraska Avenue across from the SIS building. The Reverend Janette Craswell reached out to ISSS and they are ready to help. Please call 202-363-4900.