Situational awareness: Scam alert
From: Virginia Tech Police Department
The Virginia Tech Police Department has received several recent reports of students becoming victims of fraud after receiving telephone calls or emails from unknown individuals. In one reported scam, a student was contacted by someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer, who advised that the student must pay a disclosed amount of money to avoid arrest.
In other reports, students are being contacted in regards to a job opportunity. A check for a specific amount of money is provided to the student along with instructions. The amount is supposed to cover a fee for the student plus additional money that is to be returned to the scammer. The student deposits the check and is then directed to send the scammer the additional money through a wire transfer. The scam works if the student sends the money before the bank can notify the student that the account associated with the check does not have sufficient funds to cover the amount or the check is a fake.
The Virginia Tech Police Department would like to remind all community members that:
- No law enforcement or other government agency in the U.S., including the IRS, will ever call you on the phone and threaten you with arrest if you do not immediately send them money, provide them with the number of a gift card, or transfer money into a bitcoin account.
- You should never give out personal identifying information over the telephone to anyone demanding money or financial compensation.
- You should never provide personal information such as dates of birth, social security numbers, and bank account/credit card numbers.
- If you receive an unsolicited letter or email requesting you to deposit a check and wire money back to an individual that you did not request or you found the service on the internet and decided to join, be suspicious.
- You should be apprehensive of situations where someone overpays you by check and then asks you to wire money or utilize a prepaid card for payment.
- Scammers commonly use scare tactics and promote urgency when attempting to defraud others.
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 at https://police.vt.edu/anonymous.html or via the LiveSafe mobile app (for Android and iPhone devices).