Three University of Wisconsin students have reported instances of attempted phone fraud this week.
The call, reported on three separate occasions to the Madison Police Department Monday and Tuesday, involved a caller who identified himself as someone from MPD, according to a MPD incident report.
Officers believe the caller altered his caller identification so he appeared to have a legitimate MPD number.
All three victims of the fraud were female students from Asian countries studying at UW on student visas. The caller told these students they had tax issues and needed to pay $5,000 immediately, or else their visas would be revoked and they could end up imprisoned.
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On Monday morning, the first victim received the fraudulent call. She thought it was legitimate, and took out $5,000 in gift cards from local retailers. She then read the pin numbers on the back of these cards to the caller.
The second victim received the same call Tuesday morning. But she knew the call was a scam and reported it to MPD later that day.
“‘I go to UW-Madison, so I believe this scam is targeted towards UW-Madison college students. Please let the public know that these individuals are trying to scare innocent people, especially newcomers to Madison coming to UW-Madison,’” the second victim said, according to the incident report.
A third UW student was the victim of the same call later on Tuesday. This student reportedly lost $500 to the fraudulent caller.
In light of the three attacks, MPD is working with UW Communications to alert returning students of the fraudulent caller and to educate them on ways to identify the caller as a scam.