Last week, a number of university email accounts were targeted in a spam attempt and University of Utah Department of Public Safety warned the public of an ongoing scam in our community. Scamming and phishing attempts are on the rise, but don’t fall victim to their tactics.

UUPD warns about ongoing phone scam

Members of our community have received phone calls from a person who identifies themselves as an officer, a member of the University of Utah Police Department or UUPD. The calls are being “spoofed” to show UUPD’s non-emergency phone number, 801-585-2677 or another university phone number on caller ID. The caller tells the victim they have outstanding warrants that must be paid. The caller may also tell the victim they are wanted on charges, being investigated for drugs and threaten to come arrest them if they do not cooperate.

The caller may use the victims’ first and middle names and ask them to verify information. The caller may also ask the victim if they have recently lost their ID and insist they provide all their information or be arrested.

Similar scams around the valley have also told victims they missed jury duty and now have a warrant or fine they need to pay.

The University of Utah Department of Public Safety would never ask anyone for money over the phone, nor threaten arrest for non-compliance. Collecting money to reconcile warrants or fines is always done through the court system. UUPD would never ask you to wire money or meet at a location to collect payment.

If you receive one of these phone calls, have already been a victim of one or if you have more information about this scam or the suspect, we ask you to please contact 801-585-2677 to report it. Also, feel free to stop by the station in person to speak to an officer.


Scammers sent an email falsely claiming to be from incoming president Ruth Watkins, asking faculty, staff and students to participate in a university survey. This email was confirmed to be fraudulent.

Here are some tips to help spot phishing attempts:

  • The “From” address is a non-U email address (e.g. Yahoo or Gmail)
  • The text has multiple grammar, punctuation, and/or spelling errors
  • The email references fabricated university departments
  • The email is signed with a name or title that doesn’t match data in the online Campus Directory

For more information on spam, phishing and ways to identify and avoid these attacks, visit this page.

If you suspect you’ve received spam, forward the email as an attachment to