The Virginia Tech Police Department has recently received reports of students becoming the victims of fraud after receiving telephone calls from individuals claiming to be members of a law enforcement or another agency.

During these calls, the victims are told that they owe the government money and, if they are unable to pay the amount while still on the phone, they will be arrested.  The callers then instruct the victims to purchase various gift cards and provide the numbers to them. After obtaining the gift card numbers, the callers usually hang up without giving any further instructions. 

Many of these victims have reported receiving the telephone calls from phone numbers that come back listed to the government agency with which the caller claims to be affiliated.  These numbers are easily found on the internet and are used to “spoof” the victim, or falsify the number on the Caller ID to hide the caller’s true identity. 

Additionally, the callers often have personal information about the victims, such as home addresses or the name of the school they attend, which can often be found by searching the internet.

The Virginia Tech Police Department would like to remind all community members that:

  • No law enforcement or other government agency in the United States, including the IRS, will ever call you on the phone and threaten you with arrest if you do not immediately send them money or provide them with the number of a gift card.
  • You should never give out personal identifying information over the telephone to anyone demanding money or financial compensation.

Community members should report all crimes and suspicious activity/persons anywhere on campus immediately to the Virginia Tech Police Department at 540-382-4343 or by dialing 911. Anonymous tips can be reported online or via the LiveSafe mobile app (for Android and Iphone devices).

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