‘Tis the season for online and telephone fraud, UFPD warns
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Police Department urges caution about the possibility of online and telephone fraud during the holiday season.
A UF employee recently reported receiving a call supposedly from the IRS. The employee was told he would need to pay his tax bill immediately or an arrest warrant would be issued. The employee purchased cash cards to pay the alleged bill and provided the information to the caller over the phone. When the victim called the card company a short time later, it was discovered that the cards had already been cashed.
Here are some basic safety considerations:
- Never trust the caller just because he says he is with an agency you are familiar with.
- Get as much information as possible from the caller to verify the information he is providing is correct and never provide personal information — he should have this if needed.
- Do not be rushed to a decision based on threats. A phone call would not be the first notification you received in regards to this type of case.
- Require callers to send an itemized bill of what you owe, and never provide payment over the phone until you have verified the debt. Government agencies will not require you to stay on the phone and immediately provide them with cash card payments.
- Obtain a physical address where you can mail payment and a phone number. Verify both of these are valid for the entity that the caller claims to be with.
For other tips on avoiding fraud victimization, please visit the FBI website on avoiding scams at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/