WHAM! Stop The Sham Before it’s a Scam!

Unfortunately, scammers are everywhere and always looking for their next victim.

We do our best to warn and keep students informed on the latest scams. But, we are never going to be able to catch them all.  This is why we came up with the WHAM approach.

The WHAM approach, helps you stop the sham before it becomes a scam by identifying 4 easy steps to take if you suspect you’re being scammed. WHAM stands for: Wait, Hang-up, Ask your OISS Advisor, and Manage the Sham. Follow these steps the next time you think you 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.

HHang 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. We recommend that you 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.). When 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 your OISS Advisor for help. As soon as you get a suspicious call. You should wait, hang up and then come and find your OISS Advisor. Your Advisor will be able to help you discern whether or not the call is legitimate or a scam. Remember, there is no situation so urgent that you cannot first talk with your advisor. The best way to do this would be to call, email or come into the OISS directly.

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. Your OISS advisor will help talk you through all your next steps to do everything possible to prevent the sham from turning into a scam.

Written by: Lara Jennings, International Student Advisor