Boston University Community: Fraud Alert

Date: May 2, 2022

Please find information below regarding recent fraudulent activity that has occurred on the Charles River Campus.
There have been several concerning incidents in our community since April 27, 2022 which we want to bring to your attention:

Incident #1 On 05/02/2022 a student reported that they were contacted by text message by a person purporting to be from US Border Customs Protection. The student then received a call from a person purporting to be from Boston University Police. The suspects used a telephone number spoofing technique that made the telephone numbers appear to be legitimate. The suspects explained that the student is being investigated for a crime and needs to pay $8,600.00 in Bitcoin to resolve the matter.

Incident #2 On 04/30/2022 a student reported to BUPD they received a telephone call from an unknown individual who purported to be from DHL courier service. The student was then transferred to a purported police official from China who accused the student of being involved in a crime. The suspect told the student the only way to resolve the issue was to wire $50,000.00 to an overseas location.

Incident #3 On 04/27/2022 a student reported that they were contacted by a person purporting to be from US Marshall Service. The suspect explained that the student is being investigated for a crime and needs to pay $20,000.00 to resolve the matter. The student became suspicious and called BUPD before sending any money.

Advice: We urge all members of our community to be vigilant against theft and fraud. Please take a moment to consider the possibility that a situation may be a scam or a fraud. Police will NEVER ask for payment to resolve a criminal matter. Most schemes are designed to capitalize on a fear of not cooperating with government authorities and many seem to target the Asian community. We remind students that they should not enter into any financial transactions with unknown people online. If you find yourself in a potential fraud situation, here are some useful tips provided to consumers by the Federal Trade Commission:
Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company whom you do business. Do not send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
Do not believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see are not always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
Do not pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you have won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods do not. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it is nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Do not press one to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. In addition, always review your monthly statements for charges you do not recognize.
Do not deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you are responsible for repaying the bank.

Never rent without visiting the actual premises. Always sign a written lease which identifies the owner before sending money to hold an apartment.

Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.

How to Report. If you are unsure if a communication is a fraud you may call the BUPD for advice anytime by calling 617-353-2121 or by emailing You can also reach us by texting the word ‘BU’ to (847411). The Boston University Police Department welcomes your messages and inquiries at any time of day or night. You may also report phishing and potentially fraudulent emails to Examples of phishing messages can be found at the BU Information Security’s Phish Bowl site. Please note that the University will never ask you for your password or to “click a link to verify your email address or identity” no matter how convincing the email may appear.

The following is provided as a further reminder to our BU Community:
Risk reduction/safety precautions. If you do not feel comfortable intervening in any situation, notify someone to help.
Program your cell phone with the BU Police emergency number 617-353-2121. Call this number if you become uncomfortable in any situation on or near the BU Charles River, Fenway or Medical Campus. We are ready to respond to your calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you are off campus call 9-1-1.
Text BUPD anonymously by texting “BU” to 847411.
If you feel threatened on campus, look for a Blue Light emergency telephone or dial 3-2121 from any on campus telephone.
Utilize Scarlet Safe Walk 617-353-4877 or public transportation.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Trust your intuition – if a situation makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, get away or call for help.

Issued by:
Boston University Police Department
32 Harry Agganis Way
Boston, MA 02215

This notice is a timely warning message. Boston University Police has information to share about a recurring crime on campus.

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