Students who get calls allegedly from the government about taxes or arrest warrants are being urged to use caution.
According to university police, many students have reportedly been targets of scams recently.
Police said they have received 26 reports in recent weeks about two scams directed specifically at international students.
One scam tries to scare victims into paying “overdue” taxes via phone or face having a visa revoked. The other tells the victim that there is a warrant for his arrest or the arrest of a loved one and pushes to have the fines or bail paid immediately.
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The perpetrators often use “spoofing” to make their calls seem more legitimate, making it look like the call is coming from a real government agency.
“Scammers are obtaining personal directory information through various online outlets so victims are more willing to provide the requested information. Many victims feel the scam is legitimate since the caller knows their name, address and field of study,” said a release from university police.
One source of the information could be the Penn State directory, but the release of information can be blocked by printing out a form at the university website and turning it in to the registrar’s office.
The form is available at www.registrar.psu.edu/student_forms/withhold_dir_info.pdf.
According to State College police Lt. Keith Robb, the scams don’t stop at the edge of campus. He confirms other reports happening in the area.
Police advise limiting information available through social media and other online sources to reduce potential targeting.
For more information or to report any scam, contact police or call the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555.