University Police & Public Safety warn of phone scam

During the scam a suspicious phone call is placed to the victim in which the caller claims to be holding the victim's family member hostage until the caller receives payment from the victim.

Victims are typically informed a relative has been involved in accident with the caller and they are being held hostage for money. The victims are instructed to wire the money electronically, and that once the money is received the victim's relative will be released.

One of the recent victims on campus described the caller as having a Hispanic male voice.

Some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim:

  • If you receive any type of phone call, letter or email that asks you to send money in this manner it is usually a scam.
  • Be hesitant of any unsolicited phone call, emails, text messages or letters you receive.
  • Do not provide any personal information to the caller or respond to the email.
  • Ask the name of the relative they are calling you about.
  • Contact that relative to verify there is no problem.
  • Avoid sending any money via electronic wiring services or providing your banking/credit card information to the fraudster.
  • Scammers obtain the information they use from social media sites, marketing lists and other sources. Limit their access to your information.
  • Perform an internet search of the phone number or email address regarding potential scam activities related to it.

Please call University Police & Public Safety (262-595-2455) if you receive a phone call of this nature. You may also report this and other crimes anonymously on the police department website at:

You may also send anonymous text messages to University Police by sending a SMS to "67283" containing "UWPTIP" and your message.

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