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Police Department - University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Block I
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Scam log
Documenting scam reports received by the University of Illinois Police Department so university community members can be better informed about what to look out for.

blog posts

  • Fake warrants

    A U. of I. student reported that he was scammed out of $2,950. The student received a phone call from a number that appeared to originate from a local police department. The caller said the student was wanted on warrants and needed to pay the caller to avoid arrest. The student complied with instructions to visit a local retail store, purchase gift cards and then give the gift card information to the caller.

  • Buyer goes missing

    The student attempted to sell a $200 computer monitor online. An unknown person who claimed to be interested in the monitor instructed the student to send $100 via an online transaction, and then the unknown person would send back $300. The student sent the money and never heard back from the purported buyer.

  • Payment for services

    The student’s brother had entered into a professional services agreement with an unknown person online, and the student agreed to accept payment for that work on his brother’s behalf. The unknown person sent a check exceeding the amount that the student’s brother was to be paid, with instructions to cash the check and return the difference. The student recognized the likely scam and turned over the fraudulent check to the police. 

  • Tax fraud

    A U. of I. student reported that someone had filed a fraudulent tax return in his name. The student is working with the Internal Revenue Service to resolve the identity theft.

  • Frozen funds

    A U. of I. student reported that he had been the victim of a scam on Feb. 22. An unknown person sent the student a social media message that stated the student was eligible to receive $5,000 if he first sent $30 to the unknown person via an electronic transfer. The student did so, and then received three subsequent messages that he needed to send additional money to unfreeze the $5,000 he was promised. The student paid each time, ultimately losing $1,230 before reporting the scam to police.

  • Computer fraud

    A U. of I. employee reported that she had been the victim of fraud. The employee received a pop-up notification on her personally owned computer indicating that the device had been locked and she needed to call a helpline to resolve the issue. The call-taker instructed the employee to visit a cryptocurrency terminal at a liquor store in Urbana and transfer funds to an unknown account. The employee transferred $28,500 in bitcoins before contacting police.

  • Sexual extortion

    A U. of I. student reported that he was the victim of extortion. The student exchanged private social media messages with an unknown person, who eventually requested that the student send a lewd photo of himself. Upon receiving the photo, the unknown person threatened to send the photo to the student’s social media followers unless the student paid money to the unknown offender. The student ended the communication and reported the incident to police. No money was exchanged.

  • Demanding social media access

    A U. of I. student reported that she had received multiple unwanted phone calls and text messages from an unknown person over the weekend. The caller demanded access to the student’s social media contacts and threatened to harm the student if she refused to comply.

  • Fake job ad

    Two U. of I. students reported that they had received an email from an unknown person advertising a work-from-home job. The email included a link to a form that requested more information from the students, like home address, phone numbers and other personal information. The students completed the forms. No money was exchanged, but it is believed that the scammer obtained personal information.

  • Fake bank fraud investigation

    A U. of I. student reported that she had been the victim of deceptive practices. The student received a phone call from a man purporting to be an employee of the U.S. Department of the Treasury who was investigating bank fraud. The caller directed the student to withdraw $10,000 from her bank account and use the cash to purchase gift cards at local businesses. The student withdrew the cash but was turned away by the first store she visited and was only allowed to purchase one gift card at another. The student did not transfer the gift card information to the caller, but had already disclosed personal information.