FBI Milwaukee
Public Affairs Specialist Leonard C. Peace
(414) 489-3565
April 7, 2016

Scam Using FBI Phone Number to Target College Students

The FBI Milwaukee Division is warning consumers to be on alert for a phone scam that primarily targets college students using the FBI’s phone number on caller ID.

The FBI has received multiple calls from college students at various universities in Wisconsin and their parents complaining of a phone scam from someone who claims to be representing the U.S. government and threatens to arrest them if they fail to pay thousands of dollars. In each case, the threats are associated with false claims ranging from money owed for student loans to delinquent taxes and overdue parking tickets.

During each attempt to gain personally identifiable information from the students, the caller claims to have specific student information. The originating number used by the fraudsters, which appears on students’ caller ID, is masked as the number for the FBI’s local office in Wisconsin. In some cases, the fraudsters will direct potential victims to the FBI Milwaukee homepage on the Internet, claiming they can “verify” the caller ID phone number in an attempt to keep victims on the phone and legitimize the scam.

The public is reminded that the FBI does not call private citizens requesting money. If citizens receive a call that seems suspicious, they should disconnect immediately and notify law enforcement.

If you receive these calls, do not follow the caller’s instructions. Rather, you should:

  • Notify your banking institutions.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger.
  • File a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.