Scammers posing as police trying to extort money from UW students


University of Washington police say would-be thieves have used threats in to attempt and extort money out of students. In the most recent scam thieves are “spoofing” Seattle police. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE – University of Washington police say they’ve had a surge of scams targeting students this summer.

Would-be thieves have used threats in to attempt and extort money out of students. In the most recent scam thieves are “spoofing” Seattle police.

UW police Major Steve Rittereiser said students are receiving calls from what appears to be a Seattle Police Department number.

“You see the actual caller id number of the police can be fairly convincing. If you’re not really on your toes with this kind of scam they can easily be deceived,” Rittereiser said.

The caller “threatens that they owe money, who to send it to, and to do it now,” he said.

Rittereiser said he hasn’t heard any reports of students paying the would be-thieves, but says the calls are “intimidating.”

Rittereiser said they’ve received more scam reports this summer than he can recall over any recent stretch of time. He said they’re working on crime prevention tips for students when they return for fall quarter next month.

“The frequency of the scams has increased and we know that the callers not only come from nationally, so they come internationally,” he said.

Last month UW police received a scam call themselves. They recorded the call and posted it on Twitter.

UW student Brittney Dias, of Tacoma, said she’s not surprised students are being targeted.

“College students have less experience than other people and so they’re probably more gullible,” she said.

Dias said if she receives a spam call she hangs up; which is exactly what Rittereiser said people should do.

“If scammers are scammers they’re morally inept anyway,” Dias said.



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