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Below is information about personal safety information and resources available to you.


In the event of an emergency (medical, crime, or fire)

Call 911 - You can dial 911 from any phone. 911 is the nationwide emergency number. Be ready to report details, beginning with the nature of the emergency and the exact location (address).

Safety and Security

Annual Security Report

UC San Diego publishes an annual campus security report (Clery Report) which includes data regarding crime statistics on and around campus for the past three years.

For information on these statistics visit UC San Diego Police's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report page.

Avoid Tuition Payment Scams

There has been an increase in online scams which target college students by promising reduction in tuition if a 3rd-party service is used to pay their fees. Students attending institutions across the United States, including UC San Diego, have been impacted by these online tuition scams. International students have been targeted more frequently, and scammers have especially targeted students using the popular app, WeChat. Scammers often promise an approximate 5% discount in tuition, and victims are asked to provide their university credentials and their credit card information.

The best way to protect yourself from these scams is to never share your online credentials with anyone. You should also only use payment methods approved by UC San Diego, and advise parents and authorized payers not to respond to 3rd-party solicitations.

Contact Student Financial Solutions via the Services and Support Portal immediately if you have questions about a potential tuition discount or an alternative form of payment that’s not included on the list of ways to pay your bill located on this Student Financial Solutions webpage.

Please visit Student Financial Solutions’ Avoiding Online Tuition Scams page to read more about online tuitions scams and how to protect yourself.

Avoid Tax Scams

Be aware of phone scams where callers claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and threaten to have a person arrested or deported for owing taxes.

Don’t be tricked. Even if you do owe taxes, the IRS will never:

  • Call and demand immediate payment over the phone;
  • Demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone; or
  • Threaten to call the police or immigration authorities. 

If you get a call like this, report it online to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or call 800-366-4484. Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

To learn more about tax scams, watch this video and read this IRS Tax Tip Sheet. If you think you owe taxes, you can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and they may help you arrange a payment plan. 

Visit the USCIS Avoid Scams page for more information on common scams targeting immigrants.

Avoid Housing Scams

Be aware of housing scams, particularly on websites like Craigslist!  Signs of a scam targeting renters can include the following:

  • The advertised price of the rental property is much lower than that of similar properties.
  • The person trying to rent you the property claims to be an agent for the property owner who is too busy, out of the country, or otherwise unavailable to handle the rental.
  • The owner or agent requires you to sign the lease before you see the rental property.
  • The owner or agent can't to let you enter the home or apartment or charges you a fee to view it. 
  • You're asked to wire money as a deposit or payment of the first and last month's rent. Remember wiring money is the same as giving cash. You can't get a refund, even if you find out the offer was a fraud.
  • The owner or agent uses high pressure sales tactics, urging you to rent quickly, before someone else gets the property.
  • The person preparing the lease writes in a higher monthly rent or additional fees that you hadn't agreed upon. 
  • The landlord directs you to a website to get a free credit check. This can be a tactic for harvesting your identity. Only disclose this information on a written application after you have seen the property.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  • If you’re not able to see the unit in person, have a friend or family member check it out for you. If this isn’t possible, hire a local real estate agent.
  • Check for the home’s address online using Google Maps to see if it matches what is being advertised online.
  • Use UC San Diego’s Off-Campus Housing website to search for a property. However, it is still important that you follow the tips listed above when checking out these properties!
  • Consult with UC San Diego Student Legal Services if you have any questions or concerns about a property you are renting/would like to rent.
  • Report any scams to the San Diego Police Department. 

*Source: Housing Scams Website

Avoid Employment Scams

Beware fraudulent job/internship postings!

Job seekers are often targets for scammers to attempt to threaten or scare potential victims into providing them with cash or personal, protected information, which is then used to withdraw money from bank accounts or for other illegal activity. 

When searching for jobs or internships use the following tips to avoid scams:

Never give out your personal or banking information to potential employers.

  • Recruiters and hiring contacts should not ask for money (checks, cash, wire transfers, etc.) when considering you for a job/internship opportunity. Nor should they ask for personal information such as login information and passwords, your mailing address, and/or social security number.

Watch for signs of unprofessionalism. Be cautious of:

  • A recruiter/hiring contact using a free email service such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, rather than their company/business email address
  • A recruiter/hiring contact that avoids answering questions about their company’s mission, product, or service
  • Correspondence from a recruiter/hiring manager that is unprofessionally written – use of slang, misspelled words, poor grammar, and/or use of all capital letters

Do your research!

  • Do an internet search of the company/business website and/or LinkedIn profile, is it professional and up-to-date?
  • Also look for the name of the recruiter/hiring contact on LinkedIn to confirm they are associated with the company they are hiring for (especially if they are not using a company/business email address)

Remember, if a job or internship is too good to be true, it probably is!

If you become aware of a scam or fraudulent job/internship posting, or if you believe you have been a victim of an employment scam, notify the Career Services Center and ISPO immediately! 

For more information about scams please review the following resources:

Avoid Immigration Scams

Immigrants all over the country are being targeted in scams. Don’t be one of the victims!

Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so, and the wrong help can hurt. Sometimes people are just trying to get personal information from you. Scammers may call or email you, pretending to be a government official. They will say that there is a problem with an application or additional information is required to continue the immigration process. They will then ask for personal and sensitive details, and demand payment to fix any problems. This is against the law and may be considered an immigration services scam. USCIS/USDHS or other US government agencies DO NOT call international visitors asking for money or request to meet at locations other than the agency itself. If they need payment, they will mail a letter on official stationery requesting payment.

Please be aware of this scam targeting international students and scholars and report any incidents immediately. Remember reporting scams will not affect your immigration status or pending applications. Also, many US states allow you to report scams anonymously. See examples of common scams.


Reporting Immigration Scams:

  1. Report the incident to the UC San Diego Police Department by calling 858-534-4357,  or submitting an online reporting form.
  2. Report the incident to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) by completing the online form at the USCIS Avoid Scams website.
  3. If you receive a scam email or phone call, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
  4. If you are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS Webmaster at USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate

If you have a question about your immigration record, call customer service at 800-375-5283 or make an InfoPass appointment with USCIS.

Visit the Avoid Scams Initiative for more information on common scams and other important tips.


Protecting Your Personal Identity: Here are 5 helpful tips for protecting your personal identity:

  • Be wary of giving your personal information to a person, agency, or company that contacts you (as opposed to one you contact). Never give your Social Security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, credit card number, bank PIN codes or passwords. Ask the person to give you a number you can call to verify his/her identity and ask the person to send you any information they would like you to consider in writing.
  • Do not give your personal information to anyone, unless you know who you are giving it to and why they need the information.
  • Keep your important papers secure, shred documents with sensitive information before you put them in the trash and limit the personal information you carry with you in your wallet, purse, or bag.
  • Pick up your mail daily to minimize the risk of it being stolen. Place outgoing mail in a US Postal Service mail receptacle rather than your own mailbox.
  • Maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices. Never give out personal information unless you are using a secure website. You may determine if a website is secure by looking at the beginning of the web address in your browser's address bar. It should read "https://" instead of "http://". You may also look to the bottom right of your screen for a padlock symbol.

 Beware of I-901 SEVIS Fee Scams

  • Prospective students must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee at This is the only federal website certified to correct I-901 SEVIS Fee payments. 
  • If you receive any phone calls from a person attempting to collect an I-901 SEVIS Fee or any other payment on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or SEVP, hang up immediately and call your local Police Department. Then you should contact ISPO.
    • Fraudulent callers may inquire about student immigration information such as their Alien Registration Number or ask for money. Do not give the caller any personal information, attempt to transfer funds to the scammer, or release any financial or banking information.   
  • Be wary of third-party agents that offer to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee on your behalf. 

Crime Prevention

  • Never carry large sums of money. Never tempt a thief by displaying money in public. All large amounts of money brought from your home country should be deposited in a bank shortly after arriving in the U.S.
  • Never leave valuable things visible in a car. Items like luggage, cameras, and so on, are tempting to criminals and easy to steal. If needed, hide valuables in the trunk of the car.
  • There are pickpockets in any large city in the world. Pickpockets are skilled at identifying vulnerable people who may be displaying valuables, and then coming close enough to steal the valuables without being noticed. Handbags should be kept closed; wallets should be protected. Bags or backpacks left unattended may be stolen.
  • Report any incidents of robbery or harassment on campus to the Campus Police by using the blue courtesy phones located around campus. Call 911 for EMERGENCIES whether on-campus or off- campus.
  • Some areas of San Diego are safer than others. Check with friends about the areas to avoid. There is a difference in Day Safety and Night Safety: some places are safe during daylight, but less safe at night.
  • There is safety in numbers in the city, especially at night. Going out with friends is safer than going out alone. When someone knocks on the door, make sure you know who it is before opening the door. Keep curtains closed at night and when no one is home, so people cannot look inside.
  • Always lock the door and windows of the house/apartment/room and car, even if leaving for only a minute.
  • Have keys ready upon entering your house or apartment.
  • Be cautious about giving out a personal address or telephone number to unfamiliar people.
  • Always remember to dial 911 for fire, police, or ambulance services. Keep this number near the phone.
  • If meeting someone for the first time or from the internet:
    • Meet in a public place and do not return to anyone’s home.
    • Tell a friend your plans and that you will let them know you are safe when the meeting is finished. If possible, bring a friend with you to meet someone for the first time.
    • Plan ahead so that you have your own transportation. Do not accept rides home.
    • If someone is pressuring you into doing something you don’t want to do, you have the right to say no and leave.
    • If the person you are meeting with tries to give you alcohol or drugs, do not accept.
    • Do not give identifying information in your online profile or during the first few meetings, specifically: full name, address, birthdate.
    • Always report suspicious behavior to the authorities (e.g. site administrators, police).
  • Regardless of your visa status, you always have the right to report any crimes.

Campus Safety Escort Service

The UC San Diego Campus Police provides escort service (someone to accompany you) to and from campus locations every night.

Safety escort service is offered 365 days a year from sunset to 1 a.m.

Call (858) 534-9255 or (858) 534-WALK.

Earthquake Preparedness

California is vulnerable to earthquakes. Here are a few points to remember during an earthquake:

  • If there is an earthquake, get under something, such as a desk or table. Your back should be to the window.
  • Protect your face and try to make your body as small as possible.
  • If you are outside, try to move to an open area away from trees, power lines, or objects which could fall.
  • If you are in an automobile, stop in an open area if possible.
  • If you are home, check utility lines and appliances for damage that could cause a fire. Do not touch electrical wires.
  • Turn on your radio for information.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks. Although most of these are smaller than the main shock, some may be large enough to cause additional damage or injuries.

Survival is not luck. Most people can survive an earthquake and minimize its damage simply by becoming aware of potential hazards and taking some basic earthquake preparedness measures. Prepare an earthquake kit with food and water, flashlight, radio, extra batteries, and a first aid kit.

Since earthquakes strike without warning, it’s important to act now! The longer one waits, the greater the risk. Experts know that damaging earthquakes are coming but they don’t know when. Knowing that you know what to do (and what not to do) before, during, and after a quake, however strong, will assist in keeping you safe.

For more information, visit UC San Diego’s Earthquake Safety page.

Participating in Freedom of Expression Activities

Students on F-1 and J-1 status are required to comply with all immigration regulations governing their stay in the U.S.

What Rights Do I Have While in the U.S.?

U.S. constitutional law is complex, however, regardless of your immigration status, noncitizens generally have equal First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution*: 

  • Freedom of speech, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and freedom of religion 
  • Freedom from illegal search and seizure (a law enforcement official must have a subpoena or warrant), unless a crime has been committed where the search would take place 
  • Permission to remain silent (and not say anything that could be used against you)
  • Guarantee of “due process” and “equal protection under the law”, which means that you have the right to an attorney, and a right to have a hearing before a judge in most cases
  • Right to contact your country’s Consulate

*Learn Liberty: The Constitutional Rights of Noncitizens and 2003: Cole, David: Georgetown Law, "Are Foreign Nationals Entitled to the Same Consitutional Rights as Citizens?"

Participating in Freedom of Expression Activities: 

ISEO understands that choosing to participate in freedom of expression activities is a very personal decision. If you choose to participate, review the Amnesty International "Safety During Protest" information, the ACLU "Protesters' Rights" -  and print and carry the "Know Your Rights" card. 

What if I am Approached by U.S. Law Enforcement?

Review the following resources from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). 

If you are arrested or have any legal concerns, please contact ISEO immediately. In such cases, we recommend that you seek immigration legal counsel and criminal legal counsel.

UC San Diego Smoke-Free Campus

As of January 1, 2014, UC joined more than 1,500 colleges and universities nationwide by implementing a systemwide smoke & tobacco-free policy.

This policy has been adopted by all UC campuses (including UC San Diego), labs and medical centers to improve the health and safety of all students, staff, faculty, patients and visitors. The policy prohibits the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew, unregulated electronic nicotine delivery system, and any other non-combustible tobacco product.

Smoke-free means that smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, and the use of unregulated nicotine products (e.g., "e-cigarettes") will be strictly prohibited in indoor and outdoor spaces, including parking lots, private residential space, and the Medical Center campuses.

UC San Diego Emergency Notifications

Registration for emergency notifications is voluntary and open to international scholars.

Register online for UC San Diego Triton Alert Emergency Notifications (you will receive phone or text messages to numbers you specify).

Alcohol & Drug Laws in the U.S.

This video guides international students on to deal with drugs and alcohol on college campuses, including an overview of applicable laws (and consequences for not following them), how to act responsibly, and how to get help. 

Please visit the International Student Insurance website for more information. 

Local Beach Access and Safety

Local beaches in San Diego and La Jolla are famous for its natural beauty and great surf. However, it's also known for its surrounding dangers: unstable cliffs, rockslides, and frequent riptides; all of which are naturally occurring conditions.

Stay safe by reviewing local beach access and safety information

Black's Beach: Access and Safety

Located just west of campus below the Torrey Pines Gliderport, Salk Institute, and La Jolla Farms, Black's Beach is famous for its natural beauty and great surf. It's also known for its surrounding dangers: unstable cliffs, rockslides, and frequent riptides; all of which are naturally occurring conditions.

Warning! Stay far away from the cliff walls and rocky over-hangs at all times. Areas where canyons converge on the beach are less susceptible to rock slides and can be safer places to gather on the beach. For more information, visit Black's Beach: Access and Safety page


Legal Resources

Student Legal Resources

Student Legal Services (“SLS”) provides free confidential counseling, education, and referrals to all currently registered UC San Diego Students. Some common issues that students seek assistance at SLS include lease reviews, recovery of security deposits, and how to avoid housing and other scams. Call them at (858) 534-4374 to schedule a time to speak with an attorney. Please note that any questions related to a student’s F-1 or J-1 status should be directed to ISPO.

Finding an Immigration Attorney

UC San Diego policy

UC San Diego has strict policies that prohibit the use of outside attorneys for any immigration matter related to employment at UC San Diego. Experienced attorneys will ask you to check with the International Students & Programs Office before they agree to provide any services that involve representation of UC San Diego.




Choosing an Attorney

Before selecting an attorney, here is a list of questions you should consider:

  • Does the attorney primarily practice in the area of immigration law?
  • How many years has the attorney been practicing immigration law?
  • What kind of experience does the attorney have with the specific type of case you have?
  • What is the attorney's honest appraisal of the likelihood of success with your case? Be wary of anyone who "guarantees" you success.
  • Is there any initial consultation fee? Some attorneys do not charge for the initial office visit but may spend only a few minutes with you. Others may charge a fee and give you a more in-depth interview.
  • How much are the fees for his/her services? Some attorneys have an hourly charge; others have a fixed fee, depending on the type of case.
  • Will you be working directly with that attorney? Some will turn your case over to an associate or a legal assistant after the initial interview.
  • Is the attorney a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association? If not, it is very unlikely that s/he is actively practicing immigration law.
  • Can the attorney give you the name of an international student advisor who can comment on the quality of his/her work?
  • Does everything you know about this attorney tell you that this person is knowledgeable and competent to handle your specific type of case?
  • Does everything you know about this attorney tell you that this person is ethical and honest in relations with clients?
  • Are you comfortable with the attorney's style and personality?
  • Are the fees comparable to other attorney's fees? If not, why not? The lowest fee does not necessarily indicate the best deal. The highest fee does not necessarily indicate the best service.

Know Your Rights

The safety and security of our students is a top priority. It is important that you know your rights as a student and how you can be proactive in having a safe and enjoyable program of study at UC San Diego. Information from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) provides tips for interacting with US law enforcement and government agencies and understanding your rights. Print out the International Student & Scholar Emergency Resource Card to have important contact information and resources close at hand. The wallet card is designed to fit in your wallet and includes information for what to do if you are detained by ICE or arrested by police as well as ISPO’s contact information and general emergency numbers.