Beware of Phone & Email Scams
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December 12, 2019
Beware of Scams
There have been reports of fraudulent emails and phone calls from people pretending to be a government official, such as someone from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), CBP (Customs and Border Protection), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), a U.S. Consulate, or other government agencies.
It is strongly advised to contact Penn’s Division of Public Safety first before you provide any personal information to someone you do not know.
These entities will never contact you by phone or email. You should never give someone your personal information such as name, date of birth, address, and bank account.
Government agencies will never directly ask you for money. If someone asks you for money, never provide your bank account information, never purchase gift cards for them, and never give out your social security number if you have one.
Scam artists may sometimes manipulate their phone number so that it appears that they are calling from a true government agency. They may have specific information about you (where you are from, your school etc.) that they discover from public or hacked information so they may appear to be legitimate, but it is best to first contact Penn’s Division of Public Safety.
Penn Division of Public Safety phone number: 215-573-3333
Check Out These Resources
Learn how to protect your personal data on Penn’s Privacy website: https://www.upenn.edu/oacp/privacy/yourdata/
Visit the Penn CASE website, Penn’s consumer advocacy student organization that provides important information and resources, like How to Spot Scams and Immigration Scams. http://www.penncase.org/resources.html
For Mandarin speakers, be aware of fraudulent phone calls from someone pretending to be from the Chinese consulate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T9qunJKdaw&feature=emb_title
Penn’s Arts & Sciences Computing website has additional information about email scams known as “phishing” https://www.sas.upenn.edu/computing/help/phishing
Penn keeps a list of Phishing emails on this page: https://www.upenn.edu/phishing-info/
Department of Homeland Security / USCIS has a webpage on common immigration scams and how to avoid them: https://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams/common-scams
The IRS has a webpage dedicated to tax scams -- how to recognize them and how to report them.
FBI Warns of Phone Scam That Uses the FBI's Name to Threaten Arrest and provides some tips to avoid becoming a victim.