Do not become the victim of a scam!

Unfortunately, scams and fraud are very common in the U.S. In 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a record number of 847,376 complaints, an increase of 7% from 2020, with financial losses exceeding $6.9 billion dollars. This data is important because it shows how common scams are and how easy it is for people to fall prey to them. International students and scholars are especially vulnerable to scams since they are new to the U.S., unfamiliar with American culture, and careful to maintain their immigration status.

If you think you have been contacted by someone trying to commit fraud, please contact International Services and the Clemson University Police Department. International Services can help you determine if a situation is a scam, and you should contact us before sending money or gift cards, signing contracts, giving out personal information, etc.

Criminals will use the following tactics when attempting to scam unsuspecting students:

  • Use threatening language and attempt to frighten you or your family with threats.
  • Try to manipulate you into providing personal information such as passwords and bank account information.
  • Urgently demand payment through gift cards or financial service companies such as Western Union.
  • Demand quick action without giving you time to consider what you should do or if it is a scam.
  • Demand that you do not speak to anyone, including family or friends, about the situation or their demands.

If you receive a call like this – hang up. If you receive an email like this – delete it. Once you fall pretty to the scam and you send money through gift cards, Western Union, etc., it is impossible to get your money back. We recommend checking with International Services prior to sending any money or personal information.

Types of Scams/Frauds
It is important to be aware of different types of scams and frauds that can occur via phone calls, emails, social media, in-person, etc.

  • Immigration. Scammers claim to be the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, either USCIS, DHS, ICE, or “U.S. Immigration” telling you that you owe an international student tax, fee, or “immigration tax” and you must pay this fee immediately so you will not be deported, or your visa will not be canceled.
    • The U.S. government will never contact you via phone or email and demand money or personal information. If the U.S. government needs to contact you, they will send a letter via U.S. Mail.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The scammer will claim you owe unpaid taxes and must pay them immediately to avoid the consequences.
  • Apartments for Rent or Items for Sale. Scammers will post photos of apartments or houses they do not own or cannot rent and request that you pay a deposit for renting them. Clemson’s Office of Advocacy and Success offers good information on its Off-Campus Student Services website.
  • Items for Sale. Be careful when purchasing items advertised by individual sellers online through Facebook, etc., and, to stay safe, never go to a stranger’s house alone, always meet in a public place, and bring a friend with you when meeting the seller.
  • Identity Theft. This scam involves criminals stealing your personal information such as your social security number, date of birth, etc., to use it for their own financial gain. The Social Security Administration provides important guidance on protecting your personal information.
  • Job Scams. It is important to remember that if something seems to go to be true, it probably is. If you are offered a job but are then asked to pay a fee for the job, it may be a scam. Always contact International Services to ensure you have the proper work authorization before accepting off-campus employment. com provides good information on identifying job scams.
  • Kidnapping Scam. The scammer will contact you and tell you your family has been kidnapped and you must pay for their release. The scammer will keep you on the phone, so you cannot contact your family. This can be extremely scary, but before you send them money, ask them to speak to your family using Facebook, a messenger app, etc., to connect and confirm your family’s situation.
  • Online Dating and Social Media Scams. Be careful if you meet people online and they ask for personal information or money; this is a scam.

Notify Authorities:

Remember: If something seems to go to be true, it probably is. Protect yourself from scams and if you question if something is a scam, contact International Services and Clemson Police for assistance before sending money or giving out private information.