Beware of Scams Targeting International Students – Protect Your Education and Finances


By Imagility

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If you are an international student, studying in the United States can be both exciting and transformative. However, it is crucial to be aware of the risks involved. With the rise of technology and the ease of communication, scams targeting students are becoming more common. It’s crucial to be vigilant to safeguard your educational and financial resources.

  1. Verify Accreditation

The first step in your educational journey is to make sure you are applying to accredited colleges or universities. Remember, institutions that are not accredited cannot sponsor you for an F-1 student visa. Always double-check the accreditation status of the school you’re interested in, before applying, as this will ensure that the school meets the standards set by the government and other educational organizations.

  1. Understand Form I-20

It is essential for international students to have a Form I-20, which is their Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. You must verify the authenticity of Form I-20 provided by your school. Only the schools certified under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will issue legitimate I-20 forms. You will need to have Form I-20 to travel to the US.

  1. Be Wary of Threats and Intimidation

If you receive threatening calls or intimidating messages, especially over social media, claiming to be from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or any other official body, do not respond. Scammers often use fear tactics to extort money. Remember, USCIS or any legitimate institution will never demand payment over the phone or through intimidating messages.

If you are unsure whether a call or message is legitimate, you can hang up and call the official number for the organization that the caller claims to be from. You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at

  1. Stay Informed

Regularly visit the official Study in the States website by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This resource provides comprehensive and accurate information about studying in the United States. Staying up-to-date with the latest news and guidelines will help you avoid falling victim to scammers and potential scams.

  1. Report Suspicious Activity

If you come across any suspicious activity or are led to believe that a university or application process might be a scam, report it immediately. Reach out to your school’s designated officials. They are there to support and guide you. You can also utilize the Department of Homeland Security’s resources to report potential scams and protect your fellow students.

  1. Spread Awareness

Education is the most potent tool against scams. Share information about common scams and preventive measures with your peers, classmates, and friends to raise awareness. A vigilant community is the best defense against fraudsters.

Remember, your educational journey should be filled with excitement, learning, and growth. By staying vigilant, and informed, you can be assured that your dreams of studying in the United States are realized safely and securely. Stay alert, stay safe, and keep reaching for your educational aspirations!

For more information on studying in the United States as an international student, check out our Student Immigration section or download Imagility Student App.

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