The International Center would like to warn you about phone calls and emails from criminals pretending to be from U.S. law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, or from U.S. government agencies such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), or the Michigan Department of Treasury. The calls may also be "robo-calls" making "urgent" callback requests.
The caller may ask for personal information and may even try to threaten you by saying that the police (or other agencies) will arrest you for not filling out a form or not paying your taxes, or they may say that you will be arrested if you don’t pay immediately. Also, criminals sometimes use “spoofing services” to choose the number or name that shows up on your phone, so the call may appear to come from a government agency or from the FBI or from the police, but it actually does not. These calls are fake or “scam” calls.
Please be careful! Criminals have stolen money from international students this way. You should also be very careful about giving out any personal information over the phone. *
Even though the caller may sound very real and very threatening, do not be fooled. If an unknown caller threatens you or makes you uncomfortable, just end the call.
USCIS will not call you to ask for any form of payment over the phone. If the IRS or the Michigan Treasury Department believes that you owe taxes or if they have questions about your tax forms, they will write you a letter. They will not tell the FBI to arrest you. If you receive a call like this, just hang up. Also, U.S. government agencies will never ask for payment with iTunes cards or other gift cards.
If you receive a call like this and are not sure what to do: Call the International Center or the U-M Police Department (734-763-1131). The U-M Police Department is always open so if you get a call like this at night or over the weekend you can always call them for advice. Call for advice BEFORE sending money and before giving out personal information.
You should also be very careful about emails that appear to come from U.S. government agencies such as the IRS. The International Center recently saw this kind of an email with a link to “download your record of account transcript.” Emails with links like these are an attempt to steal your personal information and your money.
For more information about these calls and about what to do;
- Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
- 4/19/2017: Scam Alert: DHS OIG Hotline Telephone Number Used in Scam to Obtain Personal Information
- The U.S. Government has prepared information for students (but it is useful for everyone) to help you avoid these scams: Important Message to Students: Protect Yourself from Scams
- The IRS and the Michigan Department of Treasury have also prepared information:
- If the caller is pretending to be from the FBI, you can file a complaint through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center
* Personal information includes your date of birth and place of birth, your social security number if you have one, personal financial information such as bank account or credit card numbers, etc.