FBI warns of phone scam targeting UT students
The San Antonio FBI office issued a warning on Friday regarding a telephone fraud scheme in which a called "spoofs" the phone number of an FBI office to target students the University of Texas.
The FBI says reports of this fraud scheme are on the rise. The scammer will contact intended victims by phone impersonating a government official, usually FBI or IRS agents, and requesting immediate payments of unpaid taxes, fees, or other government debt.
"I get phone calls probably every month saying I owe taxes or something," said UT sophomore, Shadman Chowdhuri.
UTPD Sergeant Samantha Stanford says she gets several calls a day from students asking about the phone calls. Several have fallen victim.
"We have seen anywhere from a few hundred dollars to most recently, $10,000," said Sgt. Stanford.
The scammers are spoofing numbers of local or federal law enforcement agencies and threatening to issue a warrant for the student's arrest. Many of those targeted report the number masked as the number for the FBI's Wichita Falls, Texas office, 940-766-4441. The scammer reportedly speaks English with a strong foreign accent.
"Even in some cases, they will tell them they will send a law enforcement officer to their place of residence," said Sgt. Stanford.
UTPD is working with the FBI.
"That's crazy, because it could happen to me," said UT freshman Josh Nenneti. "I'm a student here, so obviously I have to be alert and stuff."
If you think you have fallen victim to a phone scam, call your bank. They may be able to work with you on a fraud claim. Also, report it to the FBI or UTPD.
UTPD also asks that if you get a call and suspect it is a scam, try to get some information from them. Ask questions like: What is your name? What is your title? What agency are you with? Then, hang up.
You can call the number back or look up a different number for that agency and check to see if it is legitimate.
Law enforcement will never ask for money over the phone.
The FBI strongly encourages anyone contacted by a caller who claims to work with the FBI to verify the information with the San Antonio Field Office at 210-225-6741, or the appropriate field office listed at www.fbi.gov.
Individuals who been defrauded by this fraud scheme are encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov