The University of Utah Police Department reports an increased number of phone scams targeted at University of Utah students and their parents. The scammers use a variety of tactics in an effort to steal money from victims. We want you to be aware of these efforts and the steps to take to avoid becoming a victim.
Please note that the U Department of Public Safety will never ask for money over the phone or threaten arrest for noncompliance. Collecting money to reconcile warrants or fines is always done through the court system.
How scammers trick victims:
- Scammers spoof the U Police phone number (801-585-2677) or another campus phone number and identify themselves as police officers, professors, executive assistants, or other campus officials.
- The callers are reaching out to students and their parents. They say there is a warrant out for the student’s arrest, that they are wanted for drug charges, that they are in danger of failing a class, etc. The caller usually has specific details about the student, such as first and middle name, and other details that suggest the call is legitimate. Callers may also ask the victim if they have recently lost their ID and insist they provide their information or be arrested.
- The scammer threatens the student with arrest unless funds are wired to an account, often in the Dominican Republic.
- Similar scams around the valley have also told victims they missed jury duty and now have a warrant or fine they need to pay.
What to do if you get a call:
- Be skeptical – Ask for as many details as possible. Do not give any personal details to the caller.
- Document– Record the caller’s name, phone number, and what they say. This provides the police with information for a report.
- Delay– Ask for more time and tell the caller you will return their call. (Callers are aggressive and will threaten arrest if you hang up. You cannot be arrested).
- Verify– Call campus police at 801-585-2677 and ask to verify.
- Report– Report the incident to campus police at 801-585-2677 so they can investigate.