Phone Scam Targets UW Students, Spoofs FBI

Phone Scam FBIAn old, but redesigned phone scam is one again targeting UW-Madison students — and other college students across the state.

According to the FBI, local phone numbers from the federal agency are being spoofed — the scammer will call a student claiming to be representing the U.S. government, and threatens to arrest them if they fail to pay thousands of dollars. In each case, the threats are associated with false claims ranging from money owed for student loans, to delinquent taxes, and overdue parking tickets.

The FBI says in each attempt to gain personal information from the students, the caller claims to have specific student information.

The phone number used by the scammers, which appears on caller ID, is spoofed to match the number of local FBI offices. In some cases, the scammers will direct students to the FBI Milwaukee website, claiming they can verify the caller ID phone number.

It’s important to remember the FBI and other government agencies do not ever call citizens and request money. If you receive a call that seems suspicious, you should immediately hang up. If you fear you’ve been the victim of this scam and you’ve lost money, notify law enforcement.

The FBI shares these tips, if you receive one of these scam phone calls:

  • Do not give out any information and immediately hang up.
  • Notify your financial institution(s).
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency if you feel you are in immediate danger, or if you lost money.
  • File a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Read the FBI’s release regarding this scam.

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