DECEMBER 8th, 2022

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Dear Penn International Community,

There have been reports of Penn international students and scholars being targeted by people pretending to be government officials from IRS (Internal Revenue Service), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), CBP (Customs and Border Protection), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), a U.S. Consulatelaw enforcement, or other government agencies. These scam artists who send emails or manipulate their phone numbers to falsely appear to be calling from a true or official agency, deceive people into believing that their immigration status is in jeopardy, and they must pay money or go to a location to avoid arrest. Some international students and scholars were also made to believe that their phone and residence are being monitored and they must comply with the requests.

If you should experience phone, email, or other fraud, please call Penn’s Division of Public Safety (DPS) immediately at 215-573-3333.  Follow the tips below, and always reach out if you are unsure. 

We are here for you, and we care for you.

  • Do not provide any personal information. 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. If you have been contacted by email, text message, or phone, ask for their name and phone number and end the conversation.
  • Contact Penn’s Division of Public Safety. Call 215-573-3333 or email
  • If you are told to travel to a second location (i.e. CVS, Target, etc.) please instead go directly to the Penn Police Headquarters at 4040 Chestnut Street or your closest Police station.
  • Notify your assigned ISSS Advisor right away. Send your advisor an email or call ISSS at 215-898-4661 during our business hours from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Contact DPS at 215-573-3333 after normal business hours.

Please be aware that:

  • Actual U.S. officials never ask you for personal identifying information 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.
  • Legitimate U.S. officials do not threaten to terminate your immigration status unless you hand over money, sexual favors, or merchandise.
  • Scammers may appear to be legitimate because they have specific information about you (e.g., where you are from, your school, passport information, SEVIS number etc.) that they discover from public or hacked information.
As we approach winter break, whether you are planning to remain in the University City/campus area or travel, please be sure to secure your property and residences. Lock your doors and windows and secure all valuables. If you remain locally, remember your safety resources including 24/7/365 Walking Escorts services by dialing 215-898- 9255 (WALK). Additionally, avoid carrying important documents such as your passport with you; make a copy and keep the originals in a secure location.

Remember, you may call Penn Police anytime, 24/7/365 at: +1 215-573-3333.

Other Support Services available to you:

If you should experience what you believe to be fraud or identity theft, please contact any of the following resources to assist you in navigating a resolution. You will not be judged for having experienced such an encounter, please give us the opportunity to help you.


Talk and Taste with ISSS


📆 Friday, December 9 & Thursday, December 15 & Tuesday, December 20

📍 Conference room, Suite 305, St.Leonard's Court, 3819 Chestnut Street  

Come to ISSS for a study break, chat with our staff, and enjoy hot drinks and snacks!

This is not walk-in advising. 

2022 International Student and Scholar Services, UPenn, All rights reserved.

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University of Pennsylvania International Student and Scholar Services · St. Leonard's Ct., 3819-33 Chestnut St. · Suite 305 · Philadelphia, PA 19104 · USA