The UWPD received complaints from students who received calls from an individual claiming to be an FBI agent or other government official. The caller tries to convince the student to pay for an Education Tax or similar fee. The caller threatens that if the student tells anyone, including friends and family, that they will send the police to arrest them and cancel their opportunity to earn a degree. In two cases the caller knew the email address and preferred name of the student. The caller also asked the student to go to the IRS office and pay for the fee. In one case an unsuspecting student purchased gift cards and read the card numbers to the caller thinking they were satisfying this false debt. The cards were later used in on-line transactions, stealing a significant amount of money from the student. The caller is focusing on international students.
When someone claims to be from the government and demands payment over the telephone, these are attempts by criminals to steal money from you. If you receive such a call, hang up. Should the calls persist, block the call. If you receive another call after that, hang up and dial 911 to report the incident to police. Do not under any circumstances engage in a conversation with these criminals. Do not provide any personal information over the telephone.
If you have recently been a victim of this type of crime, meaning you paid money over the telephone to some that called you claiming to be from the government, please call the University of Washington Police Department at (206) 685-UWPD (8973) to make a report. To report a crime in progress, or other suspicious activities or persons, call 911.
Additional Crime Prevention Tips for Similar Incidents:
* Don’t assume the solicitor is who he or she claims to be.
* Exercise caution when sharing personal information over the telephone.
* Report the crime promptly—you’ll have a better chance of getting your money back
if you do.
Contact the University of Washington Police Community Engagement Unit at (206) 897-1706 for additional crime prevention information.