The Salt Lake City Field Office of the FBI is warning students to be on alert for a phone scam that spoofs the FBI’s telephone number on the victim’s caller ID.
FBI offices in at least eight states have received multiple calls reporting a scam involving someone claiming to be an FBI agent and demanding repayment for a school loan. On occasion, the caller even threatens the victim with arrest and not graduating from school if the fees were not immediately satisfied via MoneyGram, Western Union or another electronic payment site.
It is not uncommon for scammers to obtain personal information such as names, personal cellphone numbers and emails from social media sites. Students should know that the FBI will not call private citizens requesting money. The caller will likely address you by name, but do not give out personal information to any unknown callers.
If you are being intimidated or threatened to send money, hang up the phone and report it through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov. The mission of IC3 is to provide the public with a reliable and convenient way of submitting information to the FBI concerning suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity. Information if analyzed and disseminated for investigative and intelligence purposes to law enforcement and for public awareness.
Since its inception, The FBI statistics for 2014 show 3,175, 611 complaints were reported to IC3.
Here are some helpful reminders to ensure you don’t become a scam victim:
- Never give out personal information to someone you did not initiate contact with.
- Only sign up for a contest or email distribution list when the business has a policy not to share your information or sell it to a third party.
- Scammers are counting on your lack of knowledge, so be wary if the caller avoids your questions or makes demands.