2017 Scam Alert

Dear Students and Scholars,

OIS has been informed that international students and scholars continue to be subjected to scams involving calls appearing to be someone from a government agency including the FBI, USCIS, IRS, the Wake County Detention Center, and even 911. The caller may demand personally identifiable information or payment with a specific method such as wire transfer or gift cards to resolve an error with your record. These calls are completely false.

In some cases, the caller claims you did something wrong regarding your immigration status or taxes, and that you are going to be deported. They claim that you are under surveillance, and that you cannot contact any other individual or go to any website to confirm this issue. They state that you must wire money to them to start an investigation, or to pay a fine, etc. and they ask you to provide other sensitive personal and financial information in the process including your Social Security Number, bank account information, and other identity documents. Even if the caller already has a lot of information about you, do not share any additional personal or financial information such as your SSN, bank account, or debit/card information. 

If you receive a similar call, understand the following:

  • No government agency or agent will call you to demand payment over the phone. Even in cases where legitimate money is owed (such as taxes) the government will communicate with you in writing, not over the phone.
  •  911 is not a number that you will receive a call from. The only time that 911 may legitimately show up as a number in your caller ID is in the case of a “Reverse 911” call (which will give safety information advising a threat in your area, and is usually a recorded message. Very similar to the Wolf Alert system).
  • The government will not demand a particular method of payment (such as wire transfer, gift cards, etc.). There will be multiple methods of payment available.
  • The government will not ask for your personal or financial information such as your SSN, bank account information, credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • The government will not threaten arrest or deportation over non-payment.
  • A government agent cannot remain anonymous- they must disclose badge information.

What should you do if you get such a call?

  1. Do NOT transfer any money or share any personal or financial details, even if the caller already has a lot of information about you.
  2. Try to get the name and contact number for whomever is calling, along with a badge number.
  3. HANG UP!!! Do not answer any additional calls from that number.
  4. Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
  5. Call NC State University Police at 919-515-3000 immediately to report it to the university. Then call OIS at 919-515-2961 or email ois@ncsu.edu.

What should I do if I already gave them personal information or transferred money?

  1. Call NCSU Police at 919-515-3000 to file a report. The police will most likely not be able to get you back your money if the money was already picked up after being wired. However the police report can be helpful in making other credit protection reports.
  2. Please also notify OIS so that we can keep abreast of new aspects to any fraud scam to further alert students and scholars.
  3. If you gave someone your Social Security Number, report that to the SSA. Also read this publication for additional information.
  4. Monitor your credit. The Federal Trade Commission has developed an extensive guide to managing identity theft. Some of this you may not need if you are not noticing any fraudulent activity on your credit report, but you must check your credit report to be sure. You are entitled to a free report every year.

How did they figure out I was here on a visa? How did they get my phone number?

OIS and NC State University strictly protects your status as an international student or scholar. Most often, identifying you as someone on a visa is an informed guess based on information that you have made public.

  1. Check your Linkedin and other job search accounts. Remove your phone number and address from any posted resume or summary of your work history. Leave only email.
  2. Check all other social media accounts, particularly if they are public. Remove your phone number for those accounts, and be careful with the personal information you post.
  3. Check your Directory information on the NC State website. You can choose what you want listed on the Directory such as only listing email, and students can also choose to not be listed at all.

Other types of scams to be aware of:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline Scam

Employment Scam Targeting College Students

Email Phishing Scams

Learn more about common scams and frauds at https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds

February 2017 Staff Spotlight

Eric Syty, International Services Assistant

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Eric Syty (pronounced just like city), and I am originally from Buffalo, NY, and now reside in Cary, NC with my fiance Kaitlyn and our cat, Luna. I grew up with two brothers, a twin (we do not look a like) and an older brother. My childhood consisted of many sports (soccer, basketball, track (indoor and outdoor), volleyball and numerous others just for fun).  After high school I went to Saint Francis University (PA.) where I earned my Bachelor’s in English Literature and Communications, while playing division I volleyball.

After Saint Francis I attended The University of Akron (Oh.) where I earned my Masters in Higher Education Administration and was a graduate assistant in the athletic academic offices. Following my time at Akron I moved back to Buffalo and worked as a Mortgage Specialist with a bank for two years, before making the move to warmer weather. The rumors are true, I am 6’8″ and out of fear, I duck through doorways and the tunnels on campus.

What do you do at OIS? What are your primary responsibilities?
My title with OIS is “International Services Assistant”, and you can find me on the front lines. I man the front desk, while welcoming all students who come through the door and call in. Additionally I help respond to e-mails, and provide assistance when and where ever needed.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to hike, camp, be adventurous, exercise, and play any and all sports. During my “lazy” days I like to watch TV (shows about food, tiny houses, and a wide array of others), as well as watch movies. When the TV just does not cut it, I like to play N64 (Mario Kart and Mario Party), as well as work on designing a tiny house that one day I could live in. I also enjoy taking pictures (IG: ericsyty), cooking and trying new food.

Where are a few places you have traveled?
When I was young I traveled to Germany and Luxembourg, and frequently made trips to Canada, since it was only a short drive from Buffalo. Within the US I have been as far West as California, and south to Florida, as well as numerous states in the North East. I hope to one day make my way to the North Western states and to do some camping and hiking.


International Student Employment

J-1 Academic Training

Academic Training is work authorization for J-1 students for employment (directly related to the field of study) during or immediately after completion of the degree program. J-1 students are potentially eligible for one month of Academic Training for each month that they are in their academic program, with a cap for Academic Training being set at 18 months. (PhD graduates are eligible for up to 36 months of Academic Training.) J-1 students who are completing their academic program this semester, or are hoping to have a summer internship, should review the process for applying for Academic Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

**Please note that the deadline to apply for a full-time CPT for the current Spring 2017 semester has already passed.  For part-time CPT, the application window remains open until Friday, March 3rd.

CPT is a type of employment authorization used by students in F‐1 status who wish or need to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study when it is a required component of their curriculum, integral to their thesis or dissertation research (e.g., collecting data or testing hypotheses in a real world industry environment) or part of a cooperative education program in their field of study.

If interested, please consult the OIS CPT webpage about eligibility requirements, the application process, and other important information.

To begin the CPT process, applications are submitted by the student to the Career Development Center (2100 Pullen Hall).  After review, application materials will be forwarded to OIS for final approval and authorization.  The student will receive an email if additional materials are required or when the new CPT I-20 is processed, which takes up to 10 business days from the day OIS receives the application materials from the Career Development Center.

All international students must receive authorization prior to beginning work at an off-campus location.

Applications for both part-time and full-time Summer 2017 CPT will be accepted beginning Monday, March 13th through Monday, July 3rd.

Please note that for Summer CPT, work authorization can begin no earlier than May 14, 2017 and end no later than August 15, 2017.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of employment authorization for students in F-1 status who wish to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study during and/or after their course of study.

No job offer is necessary to apply, though in order to do so you must first meet the eligibility requirements and obtain a new I-20 Form with an OPT recommendation from OIS. You will then submit your application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If approved, USCIS will issue you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), giving you authorization to engage in temporary employment in your major field of study for up to 12 months anywhere in the United States.  

The OPT application acceptance period began on February 2, 2017 for those who are completing their degree program this Spring semester.  Please be aware that the employment start date for OPT must begin within the 60-day grace period following your program completion date. For more information on choosing your start date, see our OPT Frequently Asked Questions page.

We recommend that you begin the application process early.  USCIS accepts OPT applications no earlier than 90 days prior to your program completion date.  Although USCIS will still accept OPT applications up to 60 days after your program completion date, we strongly suggest applying as early as possible, as USCIS can take up to 90 days to process your application.  

Those who are interested in OPT should proceed to the OPT webpage for eligibility requirements, the application process, and other pertinent information. Completed OPT applications are accepted at the OIS office (320 Daniels Hall) during a drop-off session, Mondays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m.  OIS will also offer additional OPT drop-off sessions on Tuesday afternoons from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. until April 4th. 

On-Campus Employment

KABA is the system used by NC State University to track and record all work hours for temporary employees and student workers electronically. Users of this system need to log in to “clock-in” and “clock-out” to record the time when they start and stop working. The time that you are “clocked-in” is recorded exactly. As an F-1 or J-1 student, you are limited to working up to a maximum of 20 hours per week on-campus during the academic semester. If you record more than 20 hours of work per week during the academic semester in KABA, including unpaid work, you are jeopardizing your F-1 or J-1 status.

Unfortunately OIS has been required to terminate the visa status of students who worked more than 20 hours per week. Be sure to monitor your work hours to ensure that you do not exceed the 20 hour per week work limit. No one can authorize you to work more than 20 hours per week on campus during a semester. This is a statutory limit. Your manager or supervisor cannot approve you to exceed this limitation. 

Please remember the following to stay in status as on-campus employees while in F-1 or J-1 status:

  • J-1 students must apply for authorization for on-campus work prior to starting employment.  Find the application and more information on the On-Campus Employment webpage. For information regarding off campus work for J-1 students, please refer to our article on Academic Training.
  • All F-1 and J-1 students are limited to working up to a maximum of 20 hours per week on-campus during the academic semester. This includes both paid and unpaid employment
  • There is no flexibility to this 20 hour per week limit. If you work only one minute more than the 20 hour per week limit during the academic semester, you are in violation of your F-1 or J-1 status.
  • The 20 hour per week employment limit applies to all work on campus, even across multiple jobs. If you have more than one job on campus, it is very important that you coordinate with all supervisors so that you do not exceed 20 hours of employment.
  • International students who have on-campus employment are solely responsible for keeping track of their work hours and ensuring that they do not exceed 20 hours of work per week.
  • It is possible for students to exceed the 20 hours per week limitation during vacation terms such as summer break.  In order to qualify as a vacation term, the summer session cannot be your first term of enrollment, or your last (or final) term of enrollment.  As these are not classified as vacation terms, students are still limited to the 20 hour per week limitation for on-campus employment.
  • Provided that you were enrolled in Spring, and will enroll in Fall, you are eligible to work more than 20 hours per week on campus during the summer.  Please note that for the purposes of on-campus employment, the summer begins 5/14/2017 and ends 8/15/2017.  You must not exceed 20 hours before May 14, 2017 or after August 15, 2017.
  • All on-campus employment must stop if your I-20 or DS-2019 has expired or if your last semester of required enrollment has ended, whichever occurs first.

More information about on-campus employment is available on the OIS on-campus employment webpage.

International Tea Time on Centennial Campus

NC State Counseling Center is offering a new space for international students this semester: International Tea Time on Mondays from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room located in Wolf Ridge Tower Hall (next to Oval Dining and next door to The Pack Shop – enter from the exterior doors facing Hunt Library). Tea and light snacks around the world will be served. Meet peers, learn about different cultures, relax and support each other. All students are welcome to attend. No registration is required.

Questions? Contact Mary Njaramba and Yuka Kato at the Counseling Center –
(919) 515-2423; mwnjaram@ncsu.eduykato2@ncsu.edu