AUSTIN, Texas – The UT Austin Police Department said that within the past two days, it has received reports from students who have been scammed out of money.
Police said the caller poses as an IRS worker. The caller indicates the student has not completed a certain tax form and owes money to the IRS.
The caller has managed to keep the students on the phone long enough for them to wire money out of their bank accounts and purchase gift cards.
Authorities offer the following tips to avoid being scammed:
1. Anyone that receives a suspicious call should ask for the name of the agency and a phone number and hang up the phone. People can then research the number to see if it matches with the agency. Often times, scammers will do all they can to keep a person from hanging up.
2. A legitimate agency will never demand gift cards as payment.
3. Students can remove their phone number and address from the campus directory to further ensure their information is not accessible on a public website. That can be done here: https://directory.utexas.edu/faq.php#modify
Police said that the phone scam trend occurs nationwide. The callers spoof numbers and are often overseas. They will attempt to use fear tactics such as threatening to arrest a student or have them kicked out of school. Sometimes, scammers will attempt to impersonate local agencies such as the Austin Police Department or even a department on campus.