If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a Department of Homeland Security (or other government agency), ask for the person’s full name, government agency, reporting office, and government telephone number. Then, contact International Student and Scholar Services, Office of International Engagement so that the I.S. office can assist you in identifying the actual government office to which the person claims to belong. Once you have the actual government office’s contact information, you will be able to contact that office to find out whether the inquiry you received is a valid one or a scam. The Department of Homeland Security will never demand immediate payment from you or threaten to deport you if you do not pay a fee, so if someone tries to intimidate you with statements to that effect, it should immediately put you on alert. In addition, please refrain from providing personally identifying information (like your Social Security Number) to someone whose identity you have not been able to verify.
U.S. law provides you with specific rights whenever you are confronted by a federal, state or local law enforcement official. The ACLU has created an excellent page entitled Know Your Rights: What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI. Please review the page so that you are prepared for any encounter you may have with a government or law enforcement official.