May 13, 2021
UF’s 5,712 international students, along with our international faculty and staff population, are prime targets for criminals who want to leverage their immigration status to steal money and sensitive data.
The UF International Center (UFIC) reported several cases of phishing emails and phone calls from cybercriminals posing as representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Scams include threats of deportation, visa revocation, or phony visa lottery acceptances. The fake messages are schemes to solicit money or sensitive information (e.g. Social Security numbers, credit card information, etc.).
“We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for our international students to be aware of scams and phishing attempts that can impact their legal status, identity, and financial future,” said Debra Anderson, director of International Student Support Services for UFIC.
Everyone, regardless of visa status, should think twice before automatically clicking on an email attachment. U.S. government agencies never demand immediate payment over the phone or via email. In fact, contact with U.S. agencies involved in immigration issues always starts with a letter, not a phone call or an email. If you think an email in your GatorMail is suspicious, report it with the Phish Alert Button so UF’s Information Security Office can investigate further.