Phone scam targets MSU students

Last week on Jan. 29, a MSU Alert was issued regarding a phone scam that put students at risk. The campus-wide message issued at 3:23 p.m. read, “Telephone scam. MSU University Police Department (MSUPD) receiving reports of phone scammers pretending to be police while demanding money.”

The callers verbally claimed to be members of MSUPD and  had a fake caller ID that labeled their incoming call as MSUPD in name and number. The caller would then claim that the student had a warrant for their arrest which required immediate fiscal compensation to be resolved. Mostly international students were targeted in the scam.

Several students reported the calls to campus authorities, resulting in a quick reaction by MSUPD. Chief Robert Putzke spoke to the MSU News service stating, “MSU Police do not conduct business this way.” He then advised that “any students receiving such a call should not share any personal or financial information with the caller and should call legitimate law enforcement immediately.”

A similar incident occurred last fall on Sept. 24. The callers targeted MSU and University of Montana students and claimed that they had outstanding fines that needed to be resolved immediately. The callers threatened students with expulsion from their university or jail time if they failed to comply.These calls also heavily targeted international students. Chief Putzke responded the same way, urging students to contact MSUPD with any information or concerns they have about the phone scam.

MSUPD can be contacted at 994-2121.