The HIO has received multiple reports of international students and scholars receiving scam phone calls from individuals representing themselves as employees with “U.S. Immigration” or other government entities. They alter caller ID systems to make it appear that the call is coming from a governmental number. The scammers obtain or verify personally identifiable information from their victims through various tactics, including by telling individuals that they are the victims of identity theft. The scammers also pose as law enforcement or immigration officials and threaten victims with arrest unless they make payments to the scammers using a variety of methods.
Tax season in particular is a time of year when scammers attempt to extort money from people or steal identities by pretending to be IRS officials. Students and scholars who have received scam phone calls have reported that their caller ID said the IRS or an immigration office (e.g. SEVP, USCIS) were calling. Scam phone calls have also been received where the caller ID stated that the Massachusetts State Police, Cambridge Police, or other local police were calling. If you do not know who is on the line, do not simply assume it is someone from the office identified on your caller ID. Scammers are able to “spoof” these numbers so it appears the call is coming from a government office.
Government officials would never ask you for money or to meet them with gift cards. The IRS would never call individuals regarding their taxes and USCIS or SEVP would never call you to threaten you with arrest or deportation. If you receive any calls like those described above, simply hang up! You should also never email your social security number or give it to someone you do not know over the phone. Please refer to the links below for resources and more information:
- Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
- Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance
- For more information about how to avoid identity theft please review the HUPD website.
Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021. The Biden Administration and U.S. Department of State have confirmed that the Proclamation will not be renewed. Scholars who have been previously impacted by Presidential Proclamation 10052 should reach out to their HIO Advisor for guidance.
Harvard University Housing (HUH) offers a broad range of housing options for Harvard graduate students, faculty, and staff. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are now being accepted. They provide a wide variety of amenities and strive to “Make Harvard Home” for their residents. The community and events team, the Graduate Commons Program, offers year round social, intellectual and family focused programming for all HUH residents.
In light of the ongoing pandemic, HUH is offering several temporary policy adjustments. These include:
- A temporary pandemic relief adjustment in the amount of $150 per month per unit, from March 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, will be applied to each unit’s rent.
- Applicants may select a lease start date as late as August 15, 2021.
- Leases may be cancelled without fee or penalty until June 30, 2021. (Roommate joint and several policies apply, and you may not be released from liability.)
There is no cost to apply and no obligation to sign a lease. HUH does not require a security deposit, last month’s rent, or finder’s fee. All approved applicants will receive information about any additional policy changes. Please visit Harvard Housing's website to learn about eligibility requirements, the application and selection processes, and details about the temporary policy adjustments - including caveats if you live with roommates.
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