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Avoiding scams and fraud

While here at the University of Missouri, we hope that you do not encounter persons attempting to scam or defraud you out of your money, or personal identity information; however, please review the following information to protect yourself from being the victim of a scam.

Common scams to beware of

  • A claim is made that you owe money to the IRS.
  • A website charges you a fee for international services.
  • Someone threatens you with deportation or arrest for not taking immediate action.
  • You are told to pay a fine with gift cards or PayPal.
  • Fraudulent posts on Craigslist or eBay pretend to sell things they don't have.
  • You are asked to make a wire transfer to settle a debt or pay fees.
  • Someone demands you pay an "international student tax" or "visa fee" with a wire transfer or gift cards.
  • You are told you have won the "Visa Lottery."
  • A website claims to be affiliated with USCIS.

Things to know

  • The Department of Homeland Security may call you regarding your SEVIS record, but will never ask for money over the phone.
  • A scammer will use lots of legal-sounding language such as "federal regulations" and "visa fee" to sound as legitimate as possible.
  • The IRS will never call you regarding tax information. You will receive a letter in the mail.
  • Do not meet anyone to provide cash, a check or gift cards as payment.
  • Do not sign contracts without reading them and fully understanding the content.
  • Do not give out your personal information, including:
    • Social Security number
    • Credit card number
    • Bank account information
    • Student information
  • Do not re-dial the number of a scam phone call. If you can, identify the agency, look up its phone number and dial that number, even if it looks exactly the same as the one that called you.

Report possible scams/fraud to the International Center

  • If you receive a concerning or suspicious phone call.
  • If you receive a letter that includes threats.
  • If you are the victim of a scam.