URBANA, Ill. – The University of Illinois Police Department is reminding community members to be mindful of scammers when receiving calls from a number you don’t recognize, even if it traces back to a legitimate business or agency.
Phone number spoofing is a common practice for scammers. In the past several weeks, the University of Illinois Police Department has been notified by two different people who say they received a call that appeared on caller ID to come from the police department. The caller claimed that the person answering the call owed money to the IRS and there was a warrant for their arrest.
Both calls were scams in which the scammer spoofed the police department’s phone number to make the call appear legitimate and trick the victim into sending money.
The victims who hung up and called the police department to verify the call did exactly the right thing. They were informed by police department personnel that the calls were scams, and no personal information or money was given to the scammers.
Number spoofing is a common practice for scammers. Often they will use different mechanisms that make the number of the local IRS office or a local police department appear on a victim’s caller ID.
Community members are reminded that a legitimate government agency will never ask you for money or personal information over the phone. If you ever receive a call from someone demanding money – especially if they threaten you with arrest – hang up immediately. You can call the listed number for that agency to verify the call, or call the University of Illinois Police Department to ask for advice.