Dear International Students and Scholars,

OISS is aware that the international student and scholar population is being targeted by people who are contacting them by telephone or by email, claiming to be from the US government, IRS, or other US government related agency.  The callers say that you need to send money due to some problem with your immigration record, taxes, or some other similar issue. These people are criminals and are trying to get your money.

If you ever receive any communication or threat that requires you to send money or provide private information such as a Social Security number, we recommend that you do the following:

  • Stay calm.
  • End the phone call or delete the email.
  • Take note of what information you can: name, caller id number, date and time. Report this information to the Police or report the scam to the IRS or Federal Trade Commission (see below)
  • If you are worried and want to confirm if it is fake call, contact OISS for verification.

Always remember: US government agencies will NEVER demand money from you over the phone.

A few MSU international students have already lost money because they believed the criminals on the phone were really US government agents. These victims have the following advice for you to help you avoid becoming a victim as well:

  • Caller may know your name and date of birth
  • Caller ID on your phone might display a police number or 911: this number is fake.
  • Callers use very legal terms
  • Callers will be demanding, and threaten or scare you
  • Caller will ask you to send money by Western Union or some other money transfer methods
  • Caller will say they have tried to contact you previously and could not reach you
  • Caller may know part of your Social Security Number (SSN)
  • DO NOT GIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION: name, date of birth, SSN
  • Caller may tell you that you should not tell anyone else about this “federal” issue
  • If caller first tries to scare you to get you “hooked” and then tries to be helpful –it is fake
  • Caller might be the same nationality as you are and will pretend to help you
  • Stay as calm as possible.
  • Tell them you are going to call the police and end the call.

Everyone is vulnerable to these calls – many US citizens fall victim to these scams.


You can report to the local police

USCIS reporting:

Following is a message from the US government regarding email scams.

Beware: scammers are using the name as part of an e-mail phishing scam to collect your personal information on a fake IRS website. will never contact you to request your personal information.   Don’t take the bait.

If your receive an e-mail that’s supposed to be from a government program, and it seems legitimate, do your homework:

Report all other government imposer phishing e-mail scams to the Federal Trade Commission.