September 3, 2014

Students Receive Threats From Caller Claiming to be Police

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A caller claiming to be a member of law enforcement has threatened Cornellians recently with arrest warrants if they do not wire the caller money, according to Cornell Police.

Police Chief Kathy Zoner said in an email to the Cornell community Friday that there has been an increase in these fraudulent calls to students both on and off campus over the past weeks.

“Real law enforcement agencies do not call asking that money be wired to them. Ever. If we really have a warrant for you, we will visit you personally, no charge,” Zoner said in the email.

Since then, fraudulent call incidents have continued to be reported to CUPD, according to Deputy Chief David Honan.

“We had a couple of reports last week and some more over the past few days,” Honan said, adding that there were three calls reported to CUPD Wednesday.

Honan said one international student was contacted, raising concerns because “they may be susceptible to the scam because they may not be as familiar with American police and U.S. law.”

In an email to the International Students and Scholars community, Sarah Hilsman, associate director of ISSO, said “several international students … received very distributing fraudulent phone calls.”

In these calls, according to Hilsman, the students were told not to tell anyone of the call and told to drop off cash at CUPD. The callers added that students would be arrested, reported to credit agencies and have their immigration status canceled.

Honan said he thinks international students may be targeted because they may not be as familiar of U.S. law when compared to domestic students.

“If you receive any calls like this, you are likely being scammed,” Honan said. “If you have any concerns, please hang up and contact your local police department.”