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Monday, February 26, 2024

After a rise in online scams, the University Police are offering free classes to teach tips for prevention.

Sgt. Timothy Peck said student victims report scams almost every day. The increase in local reports about scamming inspired the UPD to host online safety and scam-prevention classes throughout October, UPD’s designated National Cyber Security Awareness month. Classes are held Oct. 3, Oct. 12 and Oct. 23 and are free to the public.

A common scam is being offered an irrefutable job offer with a favor attached, Peck said. The scammer will ask its victim to deposit a large check in the bank, and the check will be fraud. If a check is fraudulent, the victim has to pay the bank back the balance.

Scam victims feel overwhelmed with the huge amounts of money they must repay the bank, Peck said.

“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” he said.

Lucas McConnell, a UF digital arts and sciences senior, said the free classes will provide students with helpful information. He said he dealt with an intimidating scam call two summers ago.

“Be as skeptical as possible without jumping to emotional conclusions,” the 20-year-old said.

The 20-year-old had a scammer call and falsely say his uncle was being held hostage, and was shot. The scammer demanded money, but McConnell’s mom hung up the phone and called the police. The police confirmed it was a scam.

“Even if you think ‘this could never happen to me,’ these classes are still valuable,” he said.

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