Crime Alert – Fraud Awareness (Gift Cards)

Subject: ?????? Boston University Police Crime Alert

From: ??????????? Boston University Police?

Re: ???????????????? Crime Alert – Fraud Awareness

Date: ???????????? January 31, 2019

 

Please find detailed information below regarding several fraud incidents that have recently occurred on the Charles River Campus.

Summary of Incidents: ?

BUPD is reminding our community to remain vigilant about fraud. Five incidents have been reported since December 12, 2018. Most of these incidents involve students who have responded to online job opportunities. The scammers have used a technique called ‘spoofing’ to make it appear as though they have a BU email address.

We are reminding all student to be highly suspicious of any transaction that asks you to send gift card information back to the sender in exchange for a sent check. No legitimate business will require this type of transaction and you should discontinue any correspondence at once. Giving a person the codes from a gift card is the same as giving cash there is no way to reverse or stop this transaction.

Incident #1: On December 12, 2018, a BU student received an email after applying to job opportunities online. The scammer used the contact information Manuel Ortiz @ Darrell Engineering, sent the student a check in the mail for $2260.00 and requested that the student keep $200.00 and send back the remainder in Sephora gift cards. The student emailed back the codes for $400.00 in gift cards because that was all he could afford. The check turned out to be fraudulent.

Incident #2: On December 14, 2018, a BU student reported receiving an email after applying for a job opportunity online. The scammer used the contact information Manuel Ortiz @ Darrell Engineering, sent the student a check in the mail for $2260.00 and requested that the student keep $200.00 and send back the remainder in Nordstrom gift cards. In this case the student became suspicious and did not send back the gift cards.

Incident #3: On January 16, 2019, a BU student received an email after applying to job opportunities online. The scammer used the contact information Manuel Ortiz @ Darrell Engineering, sent the student a check in the mail for $2370.00 and requested that the student keep $200.00 and send back the remainder in Sephora gift cards. The student emailed back the codes for $2,000.00 in gift cards. The check turned out to be fraudulent.

Incident #4: On January 28, 2019, a BU student received an email after applying to job opportunities online. The scammer used the contact information Manuel Ortiz @ Darrell Engineering, sent the student a check in the mail for $2300.00 and requested that the student keep $200.00 and send back the remainder in gift cards. In this case the student became suspicious and did not send back the gift cards. The check turned out to be fraudulent.

Incident #5: On January 29, 2019, a BU student received an email after applying to job opportunities online. The scammer used the contact information Brandon Jones from “FTC”, and told the student that their identity had been stolen and they their bank account information was in risk. The scammers told the student the only way to secure the money in the bank was to send them the codes from gift cards from the Apple store. The student emailed back the codes for $6,700.00 in gift cards.

Suspect: There is no suspect information at this time.

Advice: While each scam typically has a different plot, they all require the victim to send money in a form that is not easily traced and in a way that the money cannot be recovered. If you find yourself in this situation here are some useful tips provided to consumers by the Federal Trade Commission:

  1. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t 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.
  2. Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or 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.
  3. Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t 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.
  4. Don’t 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’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
  5. Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
  8. 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. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
  9. Don’t 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’re responsible for repaying the bank.
  • 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.

Promptly report any such incident to the BUPD at 617-353-2121 at soon as you can.

Follow Up:

The Boston University Police Detective Unit is actively reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding these incidents and is encouraging anyone who may have information about these incidents to come forward and contact the Boston University Police at (617) 353-2121.

Community members wishing to assist this investigation anonymously can do so by texting the word ‘BU’ to (847411). The Boston University Police Department welcomes your messages and assistance anytime.

Issued by:

Boston University Police Department

32 Harry Agganis Way

Boston, MA 02215

617-353-2121

 

WHAT IS THIS NOTICE?

This notice is a crime alert. Boston University Police has information to share to help prevent a similar crime.?

FEEDBACK: We welcome your feedback to help make our messages better. Please send to bupolice@bu.edu

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