Phone scams target college students nationwide

Did you get a call from the FBI recently?

College students from Atlanta to Los Angeles have reportedly received fake phone calls claiming they are from the FBI.

Last week, Campus Safety’s Chief Terry Meyer sent out a campus-wide email concerning these fake FBI phone scams, which continue to target college students nationwide.

The callers claim to know victims’ personal information from student loans, taxes or overdue parking tickets, and seek to attain more information that victims would be willing to provide after further harassment.

Threats include getting arrested and not graduating if victims do not cooperate and send the callers money through MoneyGram.

According to the official FBI press release posted earlier this month, the FBI stated that it is not within their practice to call citizens and ask for money.

To date, APU has no reported incidents of these phone scams.

“As far as I know, the scam has not reached APU,” Chief Meyer said. “That’s why I wanted to be proactive in reaching out to our community so that they can be prepared.”

Although the scam has yet to reach APU, students weigh in on options to raise awareness, combat the phone scam scare and find strategies to prevent scammers from contacting them in the future.

“I’d probably just hang up on them because I don’t really believe any of that unless I call them and I’m getting a callback,” graduate physical therapy student Emily Hoyt said. “If I got that I would just hang up and say, ‘don’t call this number again.’”

Some students would prefer not to take action at all.

Freshman nursing major Mary Fischer said, “I would probably just ignore them. I don’t think I’d answer.”

Others would question the callers.

“I would just question their authority like ‘Is this real? Are you sure? I wouldn’t straightforwardly give my information out like that. I would definitely question, ‘Oh this might be a little sketchy,’” junior psychology major Sydney Bibal said.

For senior psychology major Maisie Madrid, another option is to direct these fake callers to One Stop.

“I wouldn’t give them my information. I’m pretty paranoid when it comes to giving out information,” Madrid said. “I would definitely not. If I did answer my phone and they told me it was the FBI, I probably wouldn’t be giving them out information. I feel like my first reflex would be to call the school or One Stop and be like ‘Is this real?'”

Still other students are concerned about how easily these scammers can access information.

“It’s concerning that they were able to use the FBI’s phone number,” said junior business management major Katie Marian.

APU Campus Safety reminds students to remain vigilant and be aware of this spreading crime.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of these phone scams, the FBI Los Angeles office hotline can be reached at (310) 477- 6565. File an online complaint at www.IC3.gov/complaint.

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