Phone scammers still targeting students

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UAB students — and even their parents — continue to be targets of phone scammers who impersonate law enforcement officers or IRS representatives.

Similar scams — in which malicious callers make threats about alleged debt — have targeted students at universities around the country. Although the phone scammers often know personal details about students — such as their majors — students should know there has been no breach of protected information at UAB. Such information is often publicly available in student directories or social media. The attackers can spoof a police station phone number or a government number so the call will look like it is coming from such an office.

More information about IRS scams is available here.

Tips if you receive one of these calls:
  • Do NOT provide Social Security numbers, birth dates or any other personal information.
  • Ask to call the “officer” or "IRS representative" back, take down their number and call the number back.
  • Ask them to meet you at the police station in question, if they claim to be from a police department.
  • When in doubt, hang up and call the UAB Police Department at 205-934-4434.

Tips for protecting your identity on social media:

  • Set your privacy settings so that your information and your posts are only viewable by those you trust.
  • Only accept friend or connection request from those you know and trust and those you are comfortable with sharing information. For example, posting that you and your family are on vacation on your social media page lets potential criminals know that no one is at your residence. This could make you a candidate for theft. (You can also un-friend or un-connect with those you do not trust.)
  • Consider which pieces of your sensitive information, such as your birth date, personal email address, home address, current employer, high school, etc., you should and shouldn't display. Identity thieves can piece together your information in order to take over your identity.
  • For professional sites, such as LinkedIn, use a different email address than the one used for social media s ites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. This way, peopel you are linked to professionally can't find you on social media sites via your email.
Last modified on October 12, 2015