U Community Members Scammed by Callers Posing as UPD


Chronicle archives

By Claudia Robles

The University of Utah sent out an alert last week informing the public of spam calls from someone posing as a campus police officer.

Calls were reported to come from the university police department’s (UUPD) non-emergency phone number, 801-585-2677, or another number identifying as a university phone number on caller ID. Recipients reported a suspect who identified themselves as an officer or a member of UUPD.

Upon answering the calls, the suspect addressed victims by their first and middle names, then asked them to verify personal information.

The suspect may start by asking victims if they recently lost their ID and insist that the victim provide all of their information before it is returned. The caller may use another approach by telling the victim they have outstanding fines that need to be paid. The suspect may also tell the victim they are wanted on drug charges and threaten to arrest them if they refuse to cooperate.

As of Thursday, there were approximately 15 to 20 reports of the scam calls. Out of those reports, one person fell for the scam and exchanged money with the callers. Some of these cases consisted of two separate calls.

“A couple victims have told us they have a male and female caller,” said Sgt. Ryan Speers.

The male calls and the female later follows up.

“Most victims are able to recognize these scams,” Speers said.

Reports of the scam began Jan. 19. Between then and Thursday, an average of two calls a day were reported. Currently, police are uncertain whether a specific group was targeted. All victims, however, they have a connection to the U.

Police believe there is more than one suspect, but no arrests have been made.

“We’re trying to compile as much information as we can,” said Speers.

Those who receive scam calls are advised to call 801-585-2677.

Anyone with information or further questions can call UPD or contact their Facebook page.

“The University of Utah Department of Public Safety would never ask anyone for money over the phone, nor threaten arrest for non-compliance,” read a status posted on Facebook by UPD. “Collecting money to reconcile warrants or fines is always done through the court system. We would never ask you to wire money or meet at a location to collect payment”.


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