Don't be a Victim of Scams or Fraud

Potential scenarios of scams or fraud:

  • The IRS, Social Security, FBI, Supreme Court, Sheriff, etc., do not make phone calls or send personal emails to threaten you. Hang up or delete. It is ok to be rude.
  • You get a call from a foreign embassy that a friend is "stranded" or in jail and needs money sent to get home, pay hotel bill, bond out, etc. If you can actually talk to your friend or relative, it might not be fraud, so check it out before sending any money or giving credit card information.

It is a scam or fraud if:

  • You are asked over the phone for your credit card number to “bail out a friend in jail.”
  • You get a check/money order, and they instruct you to send part of it to someone else within 48 hours.
  • You are offered to buy a Green Card online or by phone. 
  • “Immigration” demands money in a phone call or email to prevent being deported.
  • They tell you to purchase gift cards and then give them the numbers, for any reason or situation.
  • They threaten you with jail, deportation, arrest, etc. over the phone.
  • They say you won the Irish Sweepstakes, the Lottery or something else and need your bank account to deposit the money.
  • Your new online love interest asks you to send nude or semi-nude photos or video, or do a live video chat disrobed.
  • The seller on e-bay or other selling site offers to go to a “private” sale for a cheaper price.

Do not …

  • Do not give out your bank account information.
  • Do not buy gift cards and give the account numbers to someone threatening you.
  • Do not give out your credit card number.
  • Do not give your personal information (date of birth, SSN, Passport number, etc.).
  • Do not send money to an unknown person claiming an emergency of friend or family.
  • Do not accept checks/money orders for more than you expect for selling something, subleasing, etc., and do not send “extra” money to someone you do not know.
  • Do not go offline for a purchase and lose the site’s insurance to guarantee your purchase.
  • Do not send nude or semi-nude pictures or videos to someone, especially that you do not know in real life.

Beware of Online Lease Scam

There have recently been reports of individuals online — mostly through social media channels — who have been representing themselves as property owners, sending potential renters fraudulent leases, and requesting first month’s rent and a security deposit.

Beware of "leases" that look like this:

Example of a fraudulent lease

Beware of leases with signatures that look like this:

Example of bad signature misalignment

If you have been dealing with a person representing themselves as a property owner or tenant looking to sublease online, make an appointment with Student Legal Services or Off-Campus Community Living to review the lease.