This section will be updated regularly with new content alerting the university community to current crime trends and offer advice regarding how to avoid becoming a victim.
Beware of people calling you on the phone and asking you to wire money. Anyone is a potential victim!
The target victim of this scam is called by someone claiming to be a relative who needs bail money to get out of jail. Or they may claim your family member has been kidnapped and will demand ransom be paid via a money transfer service such as Western Union. Anyone calling and asking you for money MUST be considered suspicious.
If your receive a call asking you to wire money there is a chance you are being scammed.
Crime Prevention Tips
- Hang up the phone
- Remain calm and contact your loved one to verify their safety
- Never wire money in a panic
- Never give your personal or financial information to the caller
- CALL 9-1-1
For additional crime prevention tips or programs, contact your local Precinct's Crime Prevention Officer or visit the NYPD's Crime Prevention Section.
IRS Telephone Scam
Students on some campuses have received suspicious telephone calls from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. The caller claims that the student owes a large amount of money to the IRS and there is a warrant for his or her arrest. The caller demands that a partial payment be made to avoid arrest. This type of fraud is common enough that a warning has been posted on the IRS web site.
The IRS web site is: IRS Telephone Scams
The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
"If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling!” The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how the IRS conducts business.
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do: If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
If you’ve been targeted by these scams, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Kidnapping/Medical Extortion Telephone Scams
Since late 2012 when this telephone scam started it is becoming increasingly more prevalent. Recently this crime has been targeting members of northern Manhattan’s Hispanic community.
How does the crime take place?
A male Hispanic will randomly call cell phone numbers until he gets an answer. He will attempt to convince whoever answers the phone that a family member or loved one has become a victim of an accident or has been arrested. On a few occasions the scammer claims a relative of the victim was kidnapped and will be killed unless ransom is paid through a wire transfer through Western Union.
The scammer will attempt to convince the person they are speaking with that they will need to wire money to him in order to cover medical expenses or to bail their relative out of jail. The scammer does not know whom he is speaking to and relies on the victim to supply the necessary information to continue the scam, such as; names of relatives, bank account information and other personal information. The scammer will ask for/demand several hundred to several thousand dollars in ransom money.
Crime Prevention Tip:
Should you receive a call demanding that you wire money for a ransom, bail or medical expenses for a relative involved in a car accident you should:
- Ask the caller their name and who they represent
- Never supply personal information to the caller
- Ask the caller for a number where you can call them back
- Never send money to someone you don’t know, especially if they initiated contact with you
- Hang up the phone
- Remove personal phone numbers or information from social-media profile pages
- Call 9-1-1 to report the incident