International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) wants UT students to be aware of potential scams impersonating U.S. government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be from one of these organizations, it is a scam. These organizations do not call or email, they send letters by mail. Please note that these scammers have been known to spoof actual IRS or ICE phone numbers. So, do not rely on caller ID.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Posted the following information on its web site in 2020:
The Ombudsman’s Office is issuing a public warning about a scam using the Ombudsman’s telephone numbers. Scammers have identified themselves as “U.S. Immigration” employees and have altered their caller ID to seem like the call is coming from the Ombudsman’s Office (1-855-882-8100 and 202-357-8100). They then demand that the individual provide or verify personally identifiable information, often by telling individuals that they are victims of identity theft. Please do not give any information to these callers. They are perpetrating a scam and are not a part of the Ombudsman’s Office.
If a Scammer Calls You
If you receive a call demanding personal information or payment, hang up immediately. If you want to verify whether a call is from the Ombudsman’s Office, you may call our office at 1-855-882-8100 (toll-free) or 202-357-8100 (local).
Ombudsman officials will never threaten you or ask for personally identifiable information. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area. If we need information from you about a case, we will contact you using an official DHS email account or using DHS letterhead. At any time, you may request to call the Ombudsman official back in order to verify that he or she is calling you from an official DHS office.
How to Report a Call from a Scammer
If you received a scam email or phone call, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (Links to an external site.). If you are not sure it is a scam, contact the Ombudsman’s Office and someone will be able to assist you.
Please visit these websites for additional information from other protection and enforcement offices.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Report Immigration Scams (Links to an external site.)
- DHS Office of Inspector General (Links to an external site.)
- DHS National Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center (NCCIC) (Links to an external site.)
- Social Security Administration (Links to an external site.)
In addition to this information from the DHS web site, please make note of the following resources to identify, avoid and report immigration scams:
- American Immigration Lawyers Association Scam Alerts & Fraud Warnings
- USCIS Scams and Fraud Web Site
There are also several IRS Scams. One scam targets individuals associated with educational institutions, specifically students and staff who have an “.edu” email address. The phishing emails seemingly come from “irs.gov”, display an impressive, yet fake IRS logo and use various subject lines, such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” The email directs the individual to click on a link and submit personal information to claim their tax refund. Individuals who receive this scam email should NOT click on any link in the email.
The IRS asks that individuals who receive such an email to please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For security reasons, they should not forward the email, rather they should save the email using “save as” and then send that as an attachment to email@example.com or forward the email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.