FBI warns of phone scam targeting students

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 07, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- The FBI is warning of a phone scam targeting students.

FBI Special Agent Scott Neville said by phone Thursday that the scammers call claiming to be officials from the federal government. He said they then tell the student on the other end of the line that they owe money for student loans, an arrest warrant, unpaid taxes or even unpaid parking tickets.

The scammers demand money and/or personal information.

But Neville said it’s important to remember that the FBI will never request money or other sensitive information over the phone.

He also said the callers use technology to hide their number and mask it as the phone number for the FBI’s local office in Milwaukee.

Students on campus at UW-Milwaukee were alarmed to hear of the scam.

“It does sound very scary,” said student David Hollins.

“It wouldn’t be hard for me to assume they have my info if the number came up as the FBI’s,” Hollins said.

Student Sandra Alvarez said it’s unfortunate the callers are targeting students – who are often tight on money.

“I have  a part time job while also taking full time classes,” she said. “People coming in and doing this to poor college students is just ridiculous.”

Alvarez said she’ll definitely tell her peers about the scam to raise awareness on campus. She hopes by telling others she can prevent someone from being duped.

“We all just need to be careful,” she said.

The FBI says if you get a call like this - don't follow the caller's instructions. Instead, do the following:

  • Notify your banking institutions.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger.
  • File a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center