News and Information about the University of Maryland Police Department

UMD Advisory: Information on how to recognize a scam

Dear Campus Community,

We write to you to make you aware of various scams that have been reported in our area.

There are different methods a scammer will use to contact a potential victim. The scammer may call, send an email or might even approach the potential victim in person. The goal of the scammer is to use fear or pity to try to convince the potential victim to comply with the scammer’s demands.

For example:

  • If someone you don’t know mails you a check or approaches you in person and asks you to cash a check for them; don’t. It’s a scam.
  • If someone you don’t know asks you to cash a check and use a wire transfer service to send the money back to them after cashing the check for them; don’t. It’s a scam.
  • You receive a call from a scammer claiming to be from a government agency (federal, state, or local) and you need to make a payment in order to avoid being jailed, deported, fined, or that you owe taxes; or a family member is in need of help or tech-support and they demand gift cards in the form of payment; don’t. It’s a scam.

Important things to remember:

  • Gift cards are for gifts, not payments.
  • The IRS will never call to demand payment, such as prepaid debt cards, gift cards or wire transfer. The IRS will first contact you via the mail with a bill to any taxpayer that owes taxes.
  • If you find yourself on the phone with a scammer, hang up.

Below are some helpful resources and videos form the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):