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Graduating Students: Beware of financial aid repayment and loan scams

Be wary of phone and email scams threatening legal action or asking for money transfers on financial aid and/or loans.

At the end of every school year new scams surface targeting graduating students. Some students contacted in previous schemes were falsely told that warrants were issued for their arrests due to non-payment, or that dire consequences await if the call is not resolved immediately.

DO NOT provide Social Security Numbers, birthdates or any other personal information if you receive these emails or calls. DO NOT wire money to a caller. Many scam artists pretend to be law enforcement agencies, sometimes masking the call to make it appear legitimate.

Please report these scams to WVU Police at (304) 293-2677.

Information Technology Services urges students to be suspicious about all unsolicited electronic communications seeking personal information, including such things as birthdates, SSNs, and usernames and passwords. Personally identifiable information can be used to steal your identity and commit fraud. For tips on protecting yourself, spotting scams and setting up fraud alerts, please visit DefendYourData.wvu.edu.

Additional tips from WVU Police:

If you are contacted by someone who claims there is a warrant for your arrest or is claiming to collect a debt that you do not owe, you should:

• Ask the caller for name, company, street address and telephone number.

• Tell the caller that you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written “validation notice.” The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe and your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

• Contact local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger.

• If you have already given out information about your bank accounts or credit cards, contact your bank(s) and credit companies.

• Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.

• If you have received a legitimate loan and want to verify that you do not have any outstanding obligation, contact the loan company directly.

• File a complaint at http://www.IC3.gov.