News and Information about the University of Maryland Police Department

UMD Safety Notice 10/15/2021

INCIDENT:                Multiple Incidents of Fraud (scams)

OCCURRED:             Between September 5, 2021, and October 11, 2021

LOCATION:               University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

UMPD CASE NUMBERS:    2021-69323, 2021-75257, 2021-77792, 2021-79267 and 2021-80001


We write to you this evening to make you aware of multiple incidents of fraud (scams) that have been reported in our area.

Since September, we have received five reports of fraud with the most recent incident reported to the University of Maryland Police Department on October 14, 2021. The victims in these cases are University affiliated.

Below is a summary of the incidents that were reported to police:

  • One victim received a phone call from an individual claiming to be from a foreign government entity who had a warrant for their arrest.
  • The other four victims were defrauded over various social media apps.
    • In one instance an individual claimed to be an investor who made false guarantees of financial gain.
    • In the remaining three incidents, each victim engaged in a consensual conversation with an unknown individual on-line. The individual then threatened to release photos of the victim if they didn’t pay the individual.

In all of these incidents, a scammer made false accusations paired with fear tactics to convince the victim to buy gift cards and/or send US currency as payment in order to avoid any further action taken against them.

The University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD), Criminal Investigations Unit are investigating these incidents.

Individuals with any information regarding these incidents are encouraged to contact police at 301-405-3555. Individuals wishing to remain anonymous may email .

When available for release, additional information, may be obtained by accessing the "UMD Safety Notice" portion of our web site: and

It is important to remember the following tips:

  • Scammers pretend to be from an organization you know. Such as the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Medicare, police, etc.
  • Scammers always say there is a problem. They might say you’re in trouble with the government, you owe money, you have a warrant, or a problem with your bank account.
  • Scammers pressure you to act immediately. They want you to act before you think. They will tell you not to hang up the phone, threaten to arrest you, deport you, or threaten to hack your information. Just to name a few.
  • Scammers will tell you to pay in a specific way. They often tell people to send money through a money transfer company or purchase gift cards and have you read the back of the gift card number to them, or they will tell you that they will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it and then send them the money.

If you believe you are a victim of a scam, contact UMPD to file a report at 301-405-3555. You may also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at, or call 877-382-4357. 

Safety Tips:

Don’t give out Personal Identifying Information (PII), such as Social Security Number or government issued photo to scammers. They can use this information to steal your identity and open accounts in your name.

Don’t send photos of yourself to scammers. They will use the photo and release it to people you know and on-line.

Gift cards are for gifts, NOT payments.

The IRS will never call to demand payment, such as prepaid debt cards, gift cards, wire transfer or bitcoin. Neither will Law Enforcement/Immigration. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe taxes.

If you find yourself on the phone with a scammer, hang up. Call the police to report the incident.

If you received an email, don’t respond. Report the email as spam and call the police.

Trust your instincts. They are a natural gift that tells you when something is wrong.

If you observe suspicious activity or behavior, contact the police immediately by calling #3333 from a mobile phone or 301-405-3333.

See Something, Say Something!

Be Smart, Be Safe!

Download the UMD Guardian app through the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. You can create a virtual safety escort or you can text a tip to UMPD.

Safety Resources:

University of Maryland Police Department

Emergency Number 301-405-3333/ 911

Prince George's County Police Department

911 from mobile phone / 301-352-1200 (non-emergency) / 911

UMD Police Walking Escort

Non-Emergency: 301-405-3555



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