Skip to Content

Division of International Services resources and statements



Watch Out for Scams!


Watch Out for Scams!

Dear Visiting Scientists,

Every year DIS hears reports of NIH Visiting Program participants falling victim to scams.  Scammers often target foreign nationals who are not as familiar with U.S. systems.  Scammers often have some personal information already, which makes it easy to believe them. You may receive a phone call, email, or visit a website that seems legitimate, but in reality is an attempt to steal money, charge too much for services, or get more of your personal information. There are many resources available to recognize and avoid scams.

For information on common immigration scams, visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “Avoid Scams” webpage. To learn about tax scams, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has special IRS Tax Tips. DIS also has these resources available on our website under “safety precautions” at the bottom of the “Welcome to the DC Area” page.  Included in our list of information regarding “Identity Theft” is also a link to the Federal Trade Commission which explains what you can do if your information was compromised or you provided information to a scammer. 

Tips for Identifying Phone Scams:

  • The caller uses high-pressure tactics to try to get what they want, threatening things like deportation and arrest, and will not let you leave the call to consult with DIS or an attorney
  • The caller asks or demands money or personal information
  • The caller claims to be from a government organization, such as USCIS, the IRS, or a court. These organizations do not typically call foreign nationals directly!

If you are unsure if a phone call or website you are using is a scam:

  • Immediately disengage with the website, or hang up the phone call.
  • Contact DIS to describe the situation and receive assistance in identifying if it is legitimate or a scam. We are happy to help.


Division of International Services
National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive
Suite B2B07, MSC 2028
Bethesda, MD  20892-2028
Tel: 301-496-6166