UMD: A Globally Connected University

How to Recognize a Scam

Some UMD students have reported receiving calls from “Emergency#911” and being told their immigration status is at risk or they did not complete 8863B tax form.  The student is told the matter is confidential and will need to pay an amount of $2,500-$20,000 to register properly or avoid penalty.  The caller then says USCIS will be calling back with information on how to make payment (one report identified the callback number as 866-377-8642).  

These calls are a scam!

Please be aware of scams targeting international students and scholars.  Victims are threatened that they will be deported or have to depart the US unless they wire large sums of money immediately (or within several hours). A number of international students at the University of Maryland as well as other Universities have reported receiving phone calls from someone posing as a US Immigration Service or IRS Tax officer.  

 You can take the following steps to avoid becoming a victim of phone scams:

  • USCIS will NEVER request payment over the phone. 
  • The Emergency 911 Center does NOT make outgoing calls.
  • If you are informed not to involve an official CONTACT the ISSS office for guidance. 
  •  If a scammer calls you, say “No, thank you” and hang up.
  • Never give out sensitive personal or financial information over the phone, especially if you receive an unsolicited telephone call from a stranger.
  • Never wire money in response to a telephone appeal, whether it is from a stranger or someone who claims to know you or an organization you may be familiar with.
  • Never let emotion or fear overcome your common sense.  The U.S. government will not call your personal number (even though the source phone number may be a USCIS number, it has been co-opted by the scammers).  If for some reason the police, IRS, or another government agency needs to talk to you, they will do it in person and bring official identification like a badge and/or a photographic ID card.

USCIS has been notified that this is happening and has provided information on their website at USCIS Avoid Scams.

Learn more about telephone scams and telephone scammers’ techniques by visiting Federal Trade Commission-Telemarketing-Scams.