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Beware of Scams (Phonecalls, WeChat Scams, and Others!)

Last updated on May 13, 2022

We would like to take a moment to remind students to be extra cautious when it comes to possible SCAMS committed against international students in the United States.

While this information is not meant to scare you, please do review the information carefully to make sure you are aware of the many types of scams reported by students in the United States!

Spring 2022 update

CCA is receiving reports of a scam in which callers are impersonating Chinese police officials and falsely telling the student that they have been accused of a crime.  The scammers demand money and warn the student that they must not tell anyone.   This version seems to have spread in the UKSingapore, and Australia (where the callers pretend to be consulate officials) and in the US at colleges such as Boston University (link to Chinese translation of the Boston University alert).  The US Federal Trade Commission provides advice on spotting a scam.  

  • If you receive such a call, do not share any personal information, end the call, block the caller,  If you believe you have already been scammed, follow the steps on the San Francisco Police Department Financial Crimes website, and file a police report. If you need help filing a report, contact Abe Leal ( or Robert Patterson ( in CCA Public Safety during normal business hours.  You can also contact ISAP ( for advice. 
  • If the scammers have engaged in phishing by using what may appear initially to be a CCA email address, please report the incident to ETS:
  • If you get a scam call of any kind, please submit a Federal Trade Commission Complaint Form as soon as possible.
  • It is normal to be upset by such an incident and to feel scared, nervous, or guilty (even though you have done nothing wrong) or to have trouble concentrating, sleeping, or eating. Please do reach out to our Counseling Services department for support via a "One Time Urgent" appointment if you experience these signs of upset.

USCIS will never ask for money over the phone

Update from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

ICE is receiving concerns about a recent SCAM where someone is posing as an ICE officer. Imposters posing as ICE officers or agents are attempting to elicit some form of payment in exchange for immigration benefits or other immigration services.

The current scam includes scammers using the SEVP Response Center (SRC) phone numbers (703-603-3400 and 800-892-4829) and claiming to be SRC representatives. The fraudulent callers are inquiring about Form I-94 documents and asking students to provide information regarding monetary transactions.

We are urging you to follow up with your international students to ensure they don’t fall victim to this dangerous scam. If you or one of your students encounter, or are a victim of this spoof call, you are encouraged to report the incident to the Homeland Security Tip line at HSI

Things to remember:

  • SEVP officials will NEVER ask stakeholders to provide credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers, or to make bitcoin deposits for any purpose.
  • NEVER divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
  • Report all suspicious calls online through the Homeland Security Tip Form : HSI
  • You can also report any fraudulent schemes to the ICE Tip Line by phone at 1-866-347-2423

Diversity lottery is free - do not pay anyone!

In the past, ISAP has received reports of international students at CCA and from other institutions receiving fraudulent phone calls where they have been asked for money from someone claiming to be from the US government (Immigration or the IRS) or a representative from the Diversity Visa Lottery. This is a reminder that US Immigration will never call to ask you for money over the phone and the visa lottery does not have any associated costs.

Additionally, remember to protect your identifying information such as your social security number and your immigration documents, such as your passport, visa, and I-20. This information should only be shared under very specific circumstances (for example, with ISAP upon arrival, or to an HR department for an on campus or off campus job). Be very cautious, and please remember to email ISAP if you are unsure whether you should share any of this information with anyone.

Social Security SCAMS!

Increasingly, students are reporting to ISAP that they are receiving phone calls about problems with their social security number. Please review the Social Security Administration scams warning information to see that the SSN office typically uses mail, not phone calls to reach someone. The SSN warning site includes the following indicators that the call is a scam:

You should look out for:

  • A caller saying there is a problem with your Social Security number or account.
  • Any call asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Scammers pretending they’re from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID or documents sent by email may look official but they are not.

If you receive a phone call about your social security number but have not previously requested that the SSN office contact you, hang up!

New WeChat and other mobile app based SCAMS:

We have also been made aware that in the past year, several students have been scammed using WeChat and other mobile payment platforms. Here is what you need to know:

  • Scammers will offer discounts or good exchange rates if a CCA student pays their tuition through their service instead of directly to the school.
  • The scammer takes the student's money and then pay their tuition with stolen credit cards. This is bad for many reasons, including the fact that the student's tuition remains unpaid, and the student's tuition was paid with a stolen card which could be a legal problem.
  • Now, the student still owes the same amount to the college, does not have the money anymore, and the scammers have the student's account information.

Here is how you can protect yourself:

  • Protect your information! Do not give your CCA account information to anyone.
  • TouchNet, the service CCA uses to process tuition payments, is international student friendly and can process international payments and is not subject to the same international regulations as money transferred to personal accounts.
  • Therefore, please pay your tuition DIRECTLY to CCA using our approved payment methods (TouchNet). Here is a Portal Guide on making a payment to your account.
  • Additionally, if you feel like your CCA account has been compromised, please contact the CCA HelpDesk immediately. CCA Technology Services also recommends opting in for Duo two-factor authentication to protect your information further.

If you receive a call from someone asking for money, just be smart and cautious. If you receive a suspicious phone call or e-mail, we’d recommend consulting with an ISAP advisor before responding.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns for the ISAP staff, please email us at

If you get a scam call....

If you get a scam call of any kind, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission Complaint Form as soon as possible.