As a visitor to the United States, we want you to be aware of how to protect your personal information, prevent identity theft, and avoid scams. Visiting students and scholars have lost significant amounts of money because of fraudulent scams, especially through phone calls from unethical individuals pretending to represent government agencies. In general, as you are going about your daily life following US laws and IUPUI policies, you should be suspicious of persons who contact you claiming that you are in trouble for some action that you have done, or will be in trouble if you don’t immediately take a particular action.
Steps you can take to guard against fraud:
- Keep your social security card in a secure place at home.
- Be cautious about giving your full social security number over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the interaction; never send it by email or text.
- Do not give anyone login information for any online accounts.
- Do not let anyone claiming to be a US government official pressure you to make wire transfers, purchase gift cards, or pay them with digital currency.
- Be cautiously skeptical about phone numbers and email addresses claiming to represent government agencies; check to see if the email address seems “phishy.”
- If you are concerned that someone calling you is pretending to be a government official, ask for their name and title and inform them you will contact the agency through official channels, such as the phone number published on an official government website.
Examples of a business or government transaction that would legitimately require your social security number:
- Filing an immigration benefit application
- Engaging in employment
- Filing a tax return
- Applying for a driver’s license
- Opening a bank account
- Applying for a line of credit
- Renting an apartment or applying for a mortgage
- Applying for a professional license
- Enrolling in health insurance or accessing medical care