University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota


Protect Yourself From Scams and Identity Theft

Beware of Phone Scam: Caller pretends to be from your government

If you get a call from someone who says they are from your government and they are demanding that you send them money right away, it is a scam. Students have recently lost more than $150,000 to these scams. Here are more details of the phone scams from the University Police:

The scammer “... calls the victim, speaking their native language, telling the student they are with their country's embassy and working with that country's local police.  The scammer sometimes has all of the personal information of the victim: name, date of birth, family information, etc. The scammer explains to the victim that their  information has been compromised in some way, and they need to wire a lot of money to a bank account in their home country. Sometimes the scammer even tells the victim to call their parents and get more money."

Please Note: These are all scams. No police department, federal agency, foreign country will call and request that you wire-transfer money to them for any reason. 

If you receive this type of call, get assistance right away. Do not call the phone number provided by the caller. Instead: 

  • Go to the website for your county's embassy, and call the phone number listed there. 
  • Contact ISSS. Our staff can support you and help you decide what to do

If you are a victim of this type of scam:

  • Contact the University of Minnesota Police Department (612-624-2677.
  • File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center
  • Contact ISSS. We are here to support you. Students often feel stressed and overwhelmed about contacting the authorities about scam experiences by themselves, and ISSS advisers are here to help and support you during the reporting process.


International students and immigrants are often targeted by phone and email scams. These criminals often make threats and/or pose as local law enforcement or a federal agent in an attempt to scare the individual so that they will pay the caller money or share their personal information. Frequently, scam artists use software to change the information shown on caller ID to real government phone numbers like the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or even 911.

The number of scams can increase around times immigrants or international students are particularly vulnerable. For example, we often receive reports from international students at the beginning of the school year, during tax season or when there are changes in immigration policies.

Know The Following

Protect Your:

  • Credit Card or Bank Information
  • Internet Usernames & Passwords
  • Tax, Social Security, or UMN ID Numbers
  • Date of Birth
  • ATM Pin
  1. Law enforcement agencies will NEVER call to warn that you could be arrested or fined.
  2. These agencies will NEVER call to demand an immediate payment over the phone, and they WILL NOT ask for your credit or debit card number over the phone.
  3. NEVER open, respond to, or click on links in a suspicious email (even if it appears to be from an official source). The University of Minnesota will NOT ask you to provide personal information in email or on an unsecured website.
  4. Do NOT use unsecured wi-fi networks to do shopping or other activities where you will provide financial information.
  5. You should ALWAYS shred credit card applications, bank statements, and other financial paperwork before putting them in the recycling or trash.

If you receive a phone call or email from someone stating you could be arrested or jeopardize your immigration status if you do not pay them money or give them your personal information, IT IS FAKE. Do not pay them money, even if your caller ID shows the name or phone number of USCIS or a law enforcement agency.

What You Should Do If You Are Contacted

  • If you receive a threatening phone call or email, please visit our office during Walk-In Hours or email We can help you report the call, and we want to gather information about these scams and provide support to people who have been affected.
  • If you have already paid money or become a victim of a phone or email scam, contact the UMN Police Department (612-624-2677).
  • If you received a phone call but did not pay money, report the call to Federal Trade Commission
  • If you receive a suspicious email from a account, forward it to and then delete it.

Additional Resources