Avoiding Scams

Be aware of scams! A scam is an attempt to steal your money or identity by fraudulent tactics. Scammers may contact you by phone or email and ask for a payment or for personal information such as your social security number. Scammers may pretend to be an official with U.S. immigration, IRS (U.S. tax service), a government or educational agency, or a company or non-governmental organization. Scammers may have some of your personal information already. Scammers may pressure you or threaten you to make a payment or provide information. Some scams specifically target international students!

Below are some tips to avoid scams:

  • Always be suspicious of phone calls or emails from unknown individuals and phone numbers or email addresses that you do not recognize. You do not have to answer the phone or reply to the email.
  • Be aware that scammers can disguise phone numbers and email addresses to make them look like local calls or legitimate emails.
  • U.S. immigration service, the IRS (U.S. tax service), and other government agencies will never ask for a payment by phone or email. They will always send a written notice.
  • Never share your personal or financial information (social security number, bank or credit card info, passwords) by phone or email with someone who you do not know or are unsure about.
  • If anyone you don't know asks you to pay them with bitcoin, pre-paid cards of any sort, or wire transfer, it is probably a scam. Those forms of payment are impossible for authorities to trace, so they are often used by scammers.
  • If you receive a phone call that seems like a scam, you may hang up, even if they warn you not to. You may block that caller on your phone.
  • If you receive an email that seems like a scam, you should report it to Gustavus Technology Service. You may block that email address. You should not click on links in emails that you feel are suspicous.
  • If you feel that someone is attempting to scam you, you may contact Gustavus Campus Safety (507-933-8888) or the Saint Peter Police (507-931-1550).
  • You may also contact the Center for International and Cultural Education if you have concerns about a phone call, email or mailing, and are not sure if it is a scam or legitimate.
  • You will always have time to consult with someone you trust, and should do so. You can ask the caller for their contact information and tell them you will get back to them. If the call is legitimate, and not a scam, that will always be okay.
  • You should never feel intimidated or threatened. If you sense that something is wrong, pay attention to those instincts, and do not comply with requests from a potential scammer. If you mistake a legitimate official for a scammer, it will be okay. It is best to be very careful when you are unsure.