Members of the IU Police Department and a university official said students and staff need to be aware of the threat of scams present here on campus year round, but it is especially important with tax season approaching.
IUPD posted a tweet Nov. 9 about the threat of scams for students at IU.
IUPD Deputy Chief Bunger said scams occur year-round on campus. He said the IUPD regularly releases videos to warn people and remind them of scammers’ techniques.
Members of the IU community can call the IUPD non-emergency line at 812-855-4111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report scams, Bunger said.
International students can be targeted more often because they are in a new country and atmosphere, Bunger said. He said the IUPD works closely with the Office of International Students to promote asking questions when it comes to suspicious messages.
“If it seems too good to be true, it is,” Bunger said.
IUPD detective Nate Koontz said a large portion of the scams committed on campus happen on social media.
There have been around 30 to 50 reports of scams this semester here at IU Bloomington, Koontz said.
Koontz said a lot of scams happen through Instagram direct messages. He said once the conversation is started, the scam artist will start asking for pictures and personal information.
“If you do not know this person, certainly do not get into a conversation with them,” Koontz said. “They will hold the information and pictures they receive hostage.”
Von Welch, IU associate vice president of information security, said University Information Technology Services works with the IUPD to get any evidence from the scam email and then works to block the user from getting to the others in the community.
Scams can come in any and all communication channels, including spam emails, Welch said.
UITS tries to protect the IU community by filtering out these spam emails before they get to anyone’s inbox, Welch said. He said UITS will also protect people from these hostile emails by flagging scams as they come into their emails.
The hope is the security works well enough here at IU that no one actually sees it, Welch said.
Welch said people still need to be more cautious when checking emails from outside the university.
“What creates a greater sense of urgency is seeing someone pretend to be your boss or a campus official,” Welch said.
It is important to check the scammers’ email address when they do not have IU accounts, Welch said. He said protect.iu.edu and the UITS website both have information on how to keep yourself secure from these imposters.
“Make sure you are talking to who you think you are talking to,” Welch said. “Take the moment to look up the email address and make sure it is a legitimate request.”