University of Wisconsin police are warning parents to watch out for a new phone scam, in which scammers ask parents for money to release their children from jail.
The scam involves scammers who introduce themselves as UWPD officers and whose number looks to come from UWPD. The scammers then tell parents their child is in jail and demand money “immediately to release them,” according to an email UWPD sent to students today.
“THIS IS A SCAM,” UWPD wrote in the email. “This a version of a larger nationwide phone scam, aimed at obtaining your financial information. The UW-Madison Police Department, or any police department for that matter, will never call someone and demand money to take care of a warrant, citation, or to release someone from police custody.”
UWPD’s email noted similar scams are happening with many universities and government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service. It also said the scammers might be in another country, although the scammers get phone numbers from publicly available data.
UWPD said if parents receive a similar phone call, they should say they are calling the police and hang up immediately, although parents do not necessarily need to call the police unless they want to report the incident.