Recently, there have been reports of SJSU F-1 students who were targets of scam calls. The students were called by scammers claiming to be representatives from DHS (The Department of Homeland Security), who accused the students of failing to provide their Alien Registration Number (A-Number). The scammers proceeded to ask for Passport information, date of birth, bank name, and physical address. The Alien Registration Number (A-Number) can be your USCIS number if you received an EAD card in the past, or the number that you’re assigned when you apply for a Green Card. Many students simply do not have an A-Number. The students are then told that in order to avoid deportation, they must pay a fine by loading money onto an eBay gift card and provide it to the scammers.
DO NOT acquiesce to the scammers’ demands should you receive a call from “DHS.” Even if the number seems legitimate and the Caller ID on your phone clearly indicates “Department of Homeland Security” (DHS), this is known as “Telephone Spoofing.” This occurs when scammers pose as representatives calling on behalf of government agencies and will manipulate their Caller ID information to appear as if they are really calling from DHS, USCIS, SEVP, IRS, etcetera. THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT CALL YOU! If you receive a call from USCIS, DHS, SEVP, SSA (Social Security Administration), it will most likely be a scam. Should a specific government agency need to reach out to you, they will send you a letter in the mail. In extremely serious and rare situations, they will physically come to your residence. Calling is extremely rare.
Please hang up, block the number, and report the scam call to us if this has happened to you! If you provided personal information such as Passport, bank account, or other sensitive information, then please refer to our Scam Alerts webpage for the next steps to take on how to report a scam properly to the FBI. You may also schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor.
We strongly recommend that all students review the Scam Alerts webpage to find out about the various scams that International Students have reported to our office over the years, including several valuable resources on how to prevent becoming a victim of a scam.
The ISSS Staff