Avoiding Fraud and Scams

Avoiding Frauds and Scams 

Be aware of phone calls and emails from individuals posing as law enforcement (such as the Waco Police Department, Department of Homeland Security, or the IRS). It is important to remember that it is very unusual for the IRS and other federal agents to reach out via phone and even email. Often, the callers/emailers will demand money or threaten imprisonment or deportation.  

Signs the Call is a Fraud/Scam 

The individual does the following: 

  •  Claims to be law enforcement or a federal official (for example, the police, Department of Homeland Security, or the IRS) and demands payment or threatens imprisonment or deportation.  Federal and/or law enforcement officials are not likely to make these types of phone calls, and never demand money over the phone. 

  • Demands payment or request personal information 

  • There was no mail sent to you from an official agency 

  • Calls from unknown numbers (fraudsters can mask the numbers to appear as if they are coming from somewhere else, so it is important to call an agency or police department back directly rather than responding to the call back number) 

  • The caller may have your personal information (name, address, school, etc...), likely gathered from online sources (like social media).  Just because they know information does not mean it is a legitimate call. 


What Should You Do? 

To ensure your safety, please keep in mind the following if you receive a phone call demanding money and/or threatening a legal action: 

  • Unsolicited requests for personal or financial information are highly suspect. Government officers do not call asking for money or personal information. Treat it as suspicious! 

  • Do not provide any personal information (address, degree information, contact information, Social Security Number, Credit Card Number, birth date, etc.) or payment information over the phone or in response to a fraudulent email. 

  • Call the agency (be it the police or IRS) directly. Fraudsters can mask their number to appear as if the call is coming from the police department or another agency. Check for the agency’s actual number online or contact our office for information and call the direct line. 

  •  Do not meet anyone at any location to make a payment unless you have initiated the process and are meeting at a verified business address. 

  • You may choose to file a police report if you receive a fraudulent call or email, especially if the person calling has your personal information. 

  • Be careful about sharing any personal information online, such as through social media. The person calling may know information about you, but they have likely gathered that information through internet sources. Just because someone knows your information does not mean the call is legitimate. 


Financial Frauds/Scams Related to Tuition Payment 

E-Bill is the official University system for tuition payments.  If someone contacts you offering you an alternative payment method (such as paying through a "consultant" or "contractor" first, before having your bill paid) this is likely a fraud/scam.  Please Student Financial Services and ISSS immediately for assistance. 

Examples of Past Frauds/Scams 

  • Students have received calls from individuals posing as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and claiming a student is behind on their taxes and either needs to pay immediately or risk being deported.  This is a scam.  The IRS does not make phone calls demanding money. 

  • Students have received calls from individuals posing as DHS (ICE, CBP, or USCIS) claiming the student has violated status and risks deportation unless they pay a "fine."  This is a scam.  DHS does not make phone calls demanding money. 

  • Students have received calls appearing to be from the Police Department and demanding money.  Police agencies will not demand your money over the phone. 

  • Read ITS' guidance on how to avoid "phishing" attacks online (where hackers gather your personal data): https://www.baylor.edu/its/news.php?action=story&story=213703 

  • There is an Academic Misconduct Scam targeting Chinese students. The scammer sends a fake warning about an academic misconduct incident and then requests payment to cover the costs of the investigation. 

If you have any questions or receive a phone call like one outlined above, please do not hesitate to contact ISSS with questions or concerns. 

Report Fraud 

The U.S. Department of Justice website to report fraud: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/report-fraud 

Center for Global Engagement

Hankamer Academic Center, H 160.01
1428 S. 5th St.
Waco, TX 76798

One Bear Place #97012
Waco, TX 76798-7012

(254) 710-1461