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University Police recently received reports of a scam targeting international students. The scam involves someone who claims to be with law enforcement (e.g. police, sheriff, etc.) calling students and threatening arrest for breaking a law or not paying a tax.
In the scam, the caller directs the victim to purchase gift cards to repay the fake debt or tax. Then the caller asks the victim to reveal the identification numbers on the gift cards and the caller will drain the money from the gift cards.
Doug Roberts, chief of Missouri S&T’s University Police, offers the following tips to avoid falling for a scam:
- Unless you can independently confirm the legitimacy of the call, never send funds (including the purchase of gift cards) to satisfy a debt or to resolve a crime.
- No legitimate law enforcement or government agency will ask for payment from you in gift cards.
- Callers can “spoof” numbers to appear as if they are coming from a legitimate governmental agency. In in one instance, the caller ID showed X911 from the scammer.
- The fraudsters often request an immediate action and request the recipient to not discuss the call with anyone.
- Hang up. Do not engage in conversations with a suspected fraudster.
- Increase the security settings on your social media accounts so that only invited guests can access your information.
- If you receive a message or call informing you that you have violated the law or a procedure and as a result you need to immediately send funds to resolve the issue, you should contact the University Police or speak with a campus official.
- University Police can be reached 24/7 at 341-4300 or, in an emergency, 911.