August 4, 2020

Purdue police warn of vishing scam targeting international students; tips to avoid scams provided

Note to journalists: Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University police are warning about a vishing scam targeting international students.

Police on Tuesday (Aug. 4) received multiple calls from international students who said they had received telephone calls from someone requesting their personal information. The scammer reportedly told them that their Social Security number had been used fraudulently, and the caller tried to get personal information such as banking and credit card numbers.

Vishing is the practice of making fraudulent phone calls or leaving messages that appear to be from legitimate companies. Criminals will use fear or intimidation tactics to have you reveal personal information, typically for monetary gain.

Information Technology at Purdue provides the following tips if you receive suspicious calls or voice mails:

  • Ask for the caller’s name or employee number and call the organization back using the telephone number listed on billing statements or other official sources, not the number provided by the caller or caller-ID. Vishing attacks often use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which allows caller-identification to be spoofed easily.
  • Think once, twice, maybe three times about providing personal or financial information over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the call.
  • Make note, if someone claims you owe a debt, both state and federal laws give you certain rights, including the right to receive written verification.
  • Keep in mind that you probably aren’t going to win a prize if you did not enter a contest. If a call sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Remember, law enforcement agencies don’t collect fines over the phone, nor would law enforcement contact citizens by telephone and ask for personal information relating to taxes or debt. Likewise, the Internal Revenue Service, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update your information or give you a new card.
  • You can file a complaint about vishing with the Federal Trade Commission and also place your personal phone number on the federal “Do Not Call” list. You can list your number on Indiana’s no-call list as well.

Students, faculty and staff can contact Purdue Police at 765-494-8221 to make a report if they suspect that their accounts have been compromised.

For more information on cybersecurity at Purdue, visit the SecurePurdue website. 

Media contact: Jim Bush, 765-336-1909, jsbush@purdue.edu

Journalists visiting campus: Journalists should follow Protect Purdue protocols and the following guidelines:

  • Campus is open, but the number of people in spaces may be limited. We will be as accommodating as possible, but you may be asked to step out or report from another location.
  • To enable access, particularly to campus buildings, we recommend you contact the Purdue News Service media contact listed on the release to let them know the nature of the visit and where you will be visiting. A News Service representative can facilitate safe access and may escort you on campus.
  • Wear face masks inside any campus building. Wear face masks outdoors when social distancing of at least six feet is not possible.

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