FBI Milwaukee Division warning of telephone scam primarily targeting college students

MILWAUKEE -- The FBI Milwaukee Division is issuing a warning regarding a phone scam that primarily targets college students using the FBI’s phone number on caller ID.

The FBI has received multiple calls from college students at various universities in Wisconsin, and their parents, complaining of this phone scam.

It involves someone calling, claiming to be representing the U.S. government, and threatening to arrest them if they fail to pay thousands of dollars. In each case, the threats are associated with false claims ranging from money owed for student loans, to delinquent taxes and overdue parking tickets.

During each attempt to gain personally identifiable information from the students, the caller claims to have specific student information. The originating number used by the fraudsters, which appears on students’ caller ID, is masked as the number for the FBI’s local office in Wisconsin. In some cases, the fraudsters will direct potential victims to the FBI Milwaukee homepage on the internet, claiming they can “verify” the caller ID phone number in an attempt to keep victims on the phone and legitimize the scam.

The public is reminded -- the FBI does not call private citizens requesting money. If citizens receive a call that seems suspicious, they should disconnect immediately and notify law enforcement.

If you receive these calls, do not follow the caller’s instructions. Rather, you should: