Office of Human Resources, Homeland Security warn of phone scams targeting international students, staff

UW–Madison’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) is asking students and staff to be cautious after two students were victims of a telephone scam asking for money. Reports were filed with the Madison Police Department after thousands of dollars were lost.

In a release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports that “people are receiving unsolicited calls from scammers posing as an authority figures from several DHS entities like Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents, as well as consular officers and shelter administrators, where they request money to be sent electronically to help their family obtain some service or consideration, or to purchase travel tickets. The scammers then recommend or demand the money be wired to an account to fulfill that service or prevent an adverse action.”

The release explains that DHS and consulates do not solicit money by phone. If such calls are received, people should decline to wire funds, make note of the phone number and any other pertinent details about the call, and then report the incident to law enforcement authorities for investigation.