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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Two UF students have been targeted by phone scammers claiming to be holding their family members hostage in the past month, according to a University Police public bulletin.

The caller claimed that if the student sent money, then the family member would be released unharmed, UPD Sgt. Kristy Maculan said.

One student received a call that her father was being held hostage.

“She said she hadn’t spoken to her father in years,” Maculan said. “So they eventually hung up.”

Maculan said these incidents were the first of their kind she knew of being reported to UPD, but this type of scam has been common for years across the world.

She said she was unsure how the callers had gotten the students’ phone numbers. Anyone who receives a similar call should report it to UPD.

“Remain calm. Don’t send any money. Don’t provide any personal information,” Maculan said. “If you have any way to contact that family member, then do that.”

According to the bulletin, people interested in more information about telephone and Internet scams can visit the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov, the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.FBI.gov or the National White Collar Crime Center at www.NW3C.org. Scams can be reported through www.FTC.gov or to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at mdavidson@alligator.org.

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