To: The Caltech Campus Community
From: Victor Clay, Chief of Campus Security
Re: Security Bulletin: Phone Scams
Date: August 3, 2017
Caltech Campus Security has been notified of a telephone scam that appears to be targeting students at universities throughout the area:
The caller identifies himself or herself as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and demands money, sometimes in the form of gift cards, that he or she says is owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The caller further threatens arrest or, when the victim is an international student, deportation if the victim does not comply.
Often, the caller knows the victim's name, address, phone number, home country, and other information. They may be using social media or online directories to gather this information.
In addition, the call may appear to come from a legitimate telephone number. It appears that the scammers are using easily accessible technology to spoof, or mimic, phone numbers from legitimate law enforcement offices.
- None of these government agencies (FBI, IRS, or police) will call you to demand money. They will never require you to purchase gift cards. They will never ask you for money via wire transfer. They will never ask you how much money you have on hand. If you get a call from someone saying they are from one of these agencies, follow the next two steps:
- Calmly ask what the call is about. Take specific notes about what the caller is saying and requesting.
- Politely request the agent's information. Write down his or her full name, agency, and any identification number he or she can provide. Also, request his or her direct number so you can call back.
- Hang up, and call Caltech Campus Security. Provide this information to them.
- DO NOT give any credit/debit card information over the phone.
- DO NOT give anyone your banking information.
- Callers may already have part of your social security number or driver's license number, and request that you provide the rest. USE CAUTION when providing any ID number over the phone or online.
- If a caller threatens you, tell them that you will hang up and call them back with your attorney. They may try to say that you cannot tell anyone about their call. If they do, they are a scammer. Hang up immediately.
If you are concerned that you may have been targeted by a telephone scammer, call Caltech Campus Security. Dial 4701 from any campus phone or (626) 395-4701 from off campus.