CSUPD warning about current scams

It’s the time of year when phone and online tax scams start to appear. CSUPD also has received reports about scams targeting students.

Tax scams target adults and often spoof IRS or other government agency phone numbers or email addresses when contacting potential victims. The scammer insists that the person they have contacted will be arrested or detained because they owe tax money. They then attempt to get personal information sensitive financial information that they can use to take your money or your identity.

In addition, some recent reports to CSUPD point to scams targeting students in an attempt to get personal financial information. The scams target students who may be seeking employment and go something like this:

A student replies to a Craigslist job posting for a dog sitter, or someone who can mulch a yard or clean a house. Then, “Mary” replies, says she is in another state, and offers to pay $100 an hour to clean a house she hasn’t bought yet and needs the student’s personal information for payment.

“Mary” sends a large check by US Postal Service mail, FedEx or UPS.  She asks the student to deposit it and quickly send a large payment by wire or gift cards to pay a “house painter” in yet another state, and constantly hassles the student by email and text to complete the task.  After the money is sent, the student’s bank notifies them the check was fake, which often leaves their bank account overdrawn by hundreds or thousands of dollars.  “Mary” and her “painter” then disappear with the student’s money, and are rarely identified or found.

If you suspect you’ve been contacted by a scammer, immediately notify CSUPD at 970-491-6425 and retain all related emails and texts to aid in our investigation.

Tips to avoid becoming the victim of a scam:

  • Do not share sensitive, personal or financial information over the phone, even if the caller sounds legitimate and the information they are sharing is accurate. People who perpetuate phone scams go through extensive steps to make themselves look legitimate, so information from the caller or information on a website that is or appears to be affiliated with a business or agency that they claim to represent may not be truthful.
  • If someone offers you hundreds of dollars for completing simple tasks that would normally pay only $8-10 per hour, rest assured it is a scam!
  • Virtually all attempts over the phone to solicit payment via PayPal, Western union or MoneyGram are fraudulent.
  • If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from a law enforcement or government agency who is demanding money, hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency to verify the information.
  • If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS or a government office, hang up and contact that office to verify legitimacy. Report these calls to the Federal Trade Commission or, if the call involves accusations regarding taxes and IRS affiliations, report the call to the US Treasury Inspector General.
  • If you have been a victim of recent fraud by providing financial information to a caller, please call CSUPD at 970-491-6425 or your local law enforcement agency.