In 2020 criminals have stolen almost US$300,000 from Boston University (BU) international students in 22 scams says the Boston University Police Department.

Half of the scam incidents occurred in a surge during September and October.

bu international students

Lt Kelley O’Connell of the Boston University Police Department said “international Asian Pacific students are being targeted”, including students from China and Hong Kong in particular.

Most of the victims were female students.

Lt O’Connell said that a number of different scams were reported:

Government impostor scams

In a number of cases the scams “involved phone calls from foreign scammers who reported to victims that their passports came up in fraudulent investigations, and requested identifying information, as well as funds to be sent to various accounts.”

Accommodation scams

Scammers offer fake or nonexistent apartments for rent, then disappear with deposits sent by students.


Students using dating apps are persuaded to send the scammer intimate images of themselves. The scammer then demands money with threats of posting the photos online.

BUPD tips to avoid being scammed

The BUPD offers the following tips for international students to avoid scams:

  • Do not offer to deposit a check into your account if requested by an unknown individual. 
  • Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. 
  • Know who you are paying, 
  • Do not pay for merchandise online or via the phone using a debit card. 
  • Do not use an ATM machine if you notice wires or a skimming device attached to where you insert your card.  
  • Do not make a debit card purchase without first verifying the account balance. 

Knowledge is the best defence

As an international student, the best way to protect yourself from scams is to ensure you understand the risks and warning signs.

Study Guard can help.

Stay safe – by taking our free course on ‘Scams Targeting International Students‘ today.

It takes about 10 minutes and could save you from becoming a victim of a scam.

cryptocurrency scam

Source: Boston University