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2016-03-03

Scam of the week

Contributed

According to the UT Police Department, a student reported she had been a victim of fraud. The student said she had received a phone call from an unknown subject, who was posing as a representative of the university. The caller had cloned the school’s financial aid office telephone number. The caller told the student she owed “student taxes” and stated if she did not make a payment by the end of the day, she would lose her status as a student and be withdrawn from the university. Fearing the perceived consequences, the student made arrangements to pay the caller $2,755.02.
Scam artists have learned to clone telephones to aid in the commission of their crimes. In this case, the victim had little reason to believe the caller was not a representative of the university as the caller ID showed the call was coming from the financial aid office. That being said, the victim felt she needed to make a payment that day to keep her status as a student.
With the ease of cloning phone numbers and obtaining student information from on-line directories, scammers are perpetrating these fraud cases against university students nationwide.
Students need to question anytime someone requests money over the phone. Anytime someone demands payment over the phone, do some homework. Ask the caller for a case or reference number and disconnect the call. Then contact the entity the caller claims to be associated with and verify the debt. This is good advice for anyone who receives a demand for money over the phone, whether a student or not.
Law Enforcement Agencies will not call you and demand payment over the phone. The first time you hear from your university regarding a debt owed will not be the final day payment is due. Once more, they will not demand payment over the phone.
Perhaps the easiest thing to do to avoid these calls is opt out of the college’s on-line directory.