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Northwestern University

Identity Protection

Learn about Northwestern's guidelines for identity protection, a recent tax scam, and fraudulent tactics:

Tactics used by fraudsters and scammers

Misinformation campaigns often target international students and their families with inticing, lower prices, and sometimes very serious consequences.


Fraudsters (falsely) act as intermediaries to pay fees or accommodation at a discounted rate.


Fraudsters operate from a fraudulent website that appears to be a legitimate auction, marketplace, social media, or traditional sales site. Goods (e.g., education supplies or textbooks) are offered at heavily discounted rates. The customer/student provides payment information to the site, including name, address and valid credit card details. Once the fraudsters receive the details they order the goods from a legitimate site using another stolen credit card number and apply for the goods with the customer’s name and address and arrange delivery to unsuspecting students. The fraudster receives payment from the student, and the student is completely unaware of the fraud as (s)he has received delivery of the goods purchased — until the fraudster goes on to purchase other goods using the credit card numbers of the student.

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