The FBI Omaha Division is warning college students in Iowa and Nebraska to be on alert for a phone scam that spoofs the FBI’s telephone number on the victim’s caller ID. FBI offices in at least eight states have received multiple calls reporting a scam involving someone claiming to be an FBI agent and demanding repayment for a school loan and tuition. On occasion, the caller even threatens the victim with arrest and not graduating from school if the fees were not immediately satisfied via MoneyGram or some other method of payment, not through the school.
The caller often knows the name of the intended victim and has called a personal cell phone number, as well as a work number, to reach intended victims. In addition, the originating telephone number used by the scammer is displayed or “spoofed” as that of the telephone number of the FBI Omaha Field Office in the state of Iowa.
Scammers have spoofed the phone numbers of FBI offices in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Montana, and Wisconsin.
The public is reminded that the FBI does not call private citizens requesting money. There are a number of ways people with criminal intentions can obtain your name, phone number, or e-mail address. The FBI reminds you to limit the information you freely provide online, including on social media sites. Phone scammers typically use fear, intimidation, and threats to get a victim to send money.
To protect against fraud:
- Never give out personal information to someone you did not initiate contact with.
- Before signing up for a contest or e-mail distribution list, make sure the business has a policy not to share your information or sell it to a third party.
- Be leery of anyone you did not initiate contact with who asks for payment using a third party such as MoneyGram or GreenDot prepaid cards.
- Scammers count on your lack of knowledge, so take the time to educate yourself about any offer you receive.