The International Students and Scholars team at Washington University in St. Louis does its best to keep international students informed on the latest scams, but knows that they are “never going to be able to catch them all.”
To help keep their international students safe from scams Washington University has come up with four simple steps – called the “WHAM approach” – and advises international students to follow the steps if they think they are being scammed.
W – Wait, and take a pause
Scammers like to make the situation feel urgent and make you feel like you must respond immediately. They do not want you to take a pause and think through the situation. They will make the situation seem scary or very serious, but they are lying to you. Remember, no call or situation will be so urgent that you cannot stop, take a pause and think through it clearly.
H – Hang up the phone
Scammers want to keep you on the phone. They often tell you that they are calling from a US Government Agency (such as the IRS or FBI) and that you cannot get off the phone or else something bad will happen. Washington University recommends that students ask them for their information and end the call without giving them any of your personal information (Name, address, date of birth, bank information etc.).
After you hang up, you can call whatever agency they said they were from directly, to confirm or deny their identity. For example, if the caller says they are from the IRS and your bank account has been used for fraud, hang up and call the IRS directly. Remember, nothing will ever be so urgent that you cannot wait, take a pause and hang up.
A – Ask for help
As soon as you get a suspicious call you should wait, hang up and then get help from a trusted source. Washington University recommends that international students speak to their Office of International Students and Scholars Advisor to help work out if the call is legitimate or a scam.
M – Manage the sham
If for some reason you think that the scammer was able to get any personal information from you, do not feel embarrassed. Washinton University assures its international students that their OISS Advisor will help talk you through all your next steps to do everything possible to prevent the sham from turning into a scam.
Don’t get scammed!
The WHAM approach is a useful four step approach for any international student to follow.
You can also protect yourself from scams by understanding the risks and warning signs.
Stay safe – by taking the free online course below:
Scams Targeting International Students
Educational Institutions, Education Agents and Student Accommodation Providers…
…make our online safety courses available to your international students. Contact us.