FBI warns college students

Rachel Knox, Staff Writer

The FBI’s Omaha Division warned college students Tuesday of a new phone scam. This scam involves the caller “spoofing” the incoming number to show up as the FBI Omaha Division’s telephone number on the victim’s caller ID. The caller has been reported to be making these phone calls in eight different states.

The calls involve the scammer claiming to be an FBI agent and demanding repayments of student loans and tuition. Sometimes the caller will even threaten that the victim will be arrested if he or she does not cooperate.

Jay Collier, WSC’s director of college relations, shared the FBI’s press release on the college’s social media profiles and sent out an email so that students would be aware.

“We have not heard of any Wayne State students being contacted, but we just recently found out about this,” said Collier.

The FBI emphasized in a press release on Sept. 13 that it does not contact private citizens requesting payment of any kind. These callers obtain information mostly through information available on the web. Students are reminded to limit the amount of personal information provided on the internet, including social media.

In the press release, a few tips were included 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 list, make sure the business has a policy not to share your information or sell it to a third party. Be aware of anyone requesting payment through a third party such as MoneyGram. Scammers count on your lack of knowledge, so take the time to educate yourself about any offer you receive.”

Most of the time, the caller knows the name of the victim and has obtained a number he or she may be reached on.

“These types of scams are definitely considered cybercrimes,” said Jason Karsky, criminal justice professor. “Law enforcement are spending more time and resources on cybercrimes.”

Cybercrimes are especially difficult for law enforcement to investigate. Many of the cybercrimes that take place in the United States originate from outside of the country.

“Law enforcement can pursue cases by subpoenaing companies that offer spoofing services and ask for perpetrators to be identified,” said Karsky. “For the most part, in and of itself, spoofing apps are not illegal in the United States. However, it is illegal to purposely transmit false caller ID information with the intent to harm or defraud someone.”

At this point, it remains unknown how the scammers are obtaining the victims’ information. Anyone receiving these calls is asked to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.