Don't Be a Victim

Don't Be a Victim

Beware of potentially fraudulent phone calls and emails from individuals posing as law enforcement (such as the Albany County Police Department, Department of Homeland Security, or the IRS). It is very unusual for federal agents or local law enforcement to reach out via phone, text or email. Often those posing as these authorities will demand money or threaten imprisonment or deportation.

Signs the Call is a Fraud or Scam
  • The individual identifies themselves as law enforcement or a federal official (for example, the police, Department of Homeland Security, or the IRS) and demands payment or threatens imprisonment or deportation. Federal and local law enforcement officials do not make these types of phone calls, and never demand money over the phone.
  • Demands of payment or request for personal information.
  • You have not received anything in the mail from an official agency.
  • Calls from unknown numbers (fraudsters can mask the numbers to appear as if they are coming from somewhere else, so it is important to call an agency or police department back directly.)
  • The caller may even know personal information about you (name, address, school, etc...), but they have likely gathered that information from online sources (like social media). Just because they know information does not mean it is a legitimate call.
  • Check out this fact sheet about job and internship scams.
What You Should Do

To ensure your safety, please keep in mind the following if you receive a phone call demanding money or threatening a legal action:

  • Hang up before providing any information to the caller and call ISSS for assistance.
  • Unsolicited requests for personal or financial information are highly suspect. Government officers do not call asking for money or personal information.
  • Do not provide any personal information (address, degree information, contact information, Social Security Number, Credit Card Number, birth date, etc…) or payment information over the phone or as a response to a fraudulent email.
  • Call the agency (be it the police or IRS) directly. Fraudsters can mask their number to appear as if the call is coming from the police department or another agency, so you may need to call the actual agency number directly. Check for the agency’s actual number online or contact our office for information.
  •  Do not meet anyone at any location to make a payment unless you have initiated the process and are meeting at a verified business address.
  • You may wish to file a police report if you receive a fraudulent call or email, especially if the person calling has your personal information.
  • Be careful about sharing any personal information online, such as through social media. The person calling may know information about you, but they have likely gathered that information through internet sources. Just because someone knows your information does not mean the call is legitimate.


Financial Frauds and Scams Related to Tuition Payment
  • EPay is the official University system for tuition payments. 
  • If someone contacts you offering you an alternative payment method (such as paying through a "consultant" or "contractor" first, before having your bill paid) this is likely a fraud/scam.
  • Please contact ISSS and Student Accounts immediately for assistance.


Frauds and Scams Where Caller Falsely Represent Self as Federal Agent (ICE)

There have been reports of scammers claiming they are ICE agents and demanding money. ICE will never seek payment by internet or phone, or offer immigration services in exchange for payment. Nor will they use a third-party to solicit or collect a fee.

Stakeholders should report any fraudulent schemes to the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423. See also:

Other Examples of Frauds and Scams
  • Students have received calls from individuals posing as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and claiming a student is behind on their taxes and either needs to pay immediately or risk being deported. This is a scam. The IRS does not make phone calls demanding money.
  • Students have received calls from individuals posing as DHS (ICE, CBP, or USCIS) claiming the student has violated status and risks deportation unless they pay a "fine."  This is a scam. DHS does not make phone calls demanding money.
  • Students have received calls appearing to be from the Albany County Police Department and demanding money. Police agencies will not demand your money over the phone.
  • The Albany FBI Field Office has shared a FBI Liaison Information Report which provides information related to “Criminals Posing as Chinese Law Enforcement in Phone Scams to Target Chinese Citizens on Student Visas at U.S.-Based Colleges and Universities for Financial Gain.” 
  • The Office of Information Technology Services has notified our office of an Academic Misconduct Scam targeting our Chinese students. The scammer sends a fake warning about an academic misconduct incident and then requests payment to cover the costs of the investigation.