Situational awareness: Scam alert
February 14, 2020
From: Virginia Tech Police Department
The Virginia Tech Police Department has received several reports throughout the semester of students becoming victims of fraud after receiving telephone calls or emails from unknown individuals. In a recently reported scam, a student was contacted by someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer who advised 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.
Often, those behind these fraudulent activities will ask for payment in the form of gift card or cryptocurrency. These types of transactions can be difficult to trace. It is important to know that scams come in many forms but share certain commonalities, some of which are shared below.
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, 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, 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.
- Common scams perpetrated against the Virginia Tech Community and other general safety tips can be found at https://police.vt.edu/scam-alerts.html.
Community members should report all crimes and suspicious activity and 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).