Scammers targeting college students using FBI phone number
The FBI Omaha Division is warning college students in Nebraska and Iowa 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 in which claims are made by an alleged FBI agent who demands repayment for a school loan and tuition.
On occasion, according an FBI news release, the caller even threatens the victim with arrest and not graduating from school if the fees were not immediately satisfied via MoneyGram or some other method of payment, not through the school.
The caller often knows the name of the intended victim and has called a personal cell phone number, as well as a work number, to reach intended victims.
The originating telephone number used by the scammer is displayed or “spoofed” as that of the telephone number of the FBI Omaha Field Office in Iowa.
Scammers have also spoofed the phone numbers of FBI offices in Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Montana and Wisconsin.
The public is reminded that the FBI does not call private citizens requesting money. There are a number of ways people with criminal intentions can obtain your name, phone number, or e-mail address, FBI officials say.
Limiting the information provided freely online is recommended, including on social media sites.
Phone scammers typically use fear, intimidation and threats to get a victim to send money.
To protect against fraud:
Never give out personal information to someone you did not initiate contact with.
Before signing up for a contest or e-mail distribution list, make sure the business has a policy not to share information or sell it to a third party.
Be leery of anyone you did not initiate contact with who asks for payment using a third party such as MoneyGram or GreenDot prepaid cards.
Scammers count on your lack of knowledge, so take the time to educate yourself about any offer you receive.
Individuals receiving such calls or needing to report any Internet-related crime can file a complaint through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.