FSU Student Victim of Scam

Frostburg State University Police warned students and the campus community of a scam threat on Saturday, Oct. 22 after an incident occurred “in which a student and his parents were simultaneously led to believe the other was in danger of being killed if they didn’t wire money to a threatening caller,” according to a statement released by the University.

The student victim, an FSU football player, was found to be at a nearby store trying to wire money when he was expected to be on the field at Bobcat Stadium on Homecoming Day.

The student’s mother originally notified police, explaining that they believed he had been abducted when the coach reported to her that he had not shown up for the game. While the police were speaking to the parents, the parents received a similar phone call threatening that their son would be killed within 30 minutes if money was not wired to the threatening caller. The caller, at one point, told the parents their son was being held at said store. When police arrived, they found the student unharmed, but distraught and trying to wire money, according to the press release.

Although no one was injured in the incident, a significant amount of money was wired to the scammers before police could reach the son.

Similar incidents have occurred across the country, with scams occurring in nearby Virginia and at University of Maryland College Park. An Oct. 10 article from CBS, “Sextortion Scam Rocks University of Maryland Campus,” said a student paid money to someone who threatened to share nude photos of him online. The scammers had asked for more than $1,000. The student wired a portion of that amount and then contacted police who are investigating the situation.

The fraud incident at Frostburg State University is currently being investigated by C3I, according to University Police Chief Cynthia Smith. However, she was not aware of any new information or developments at press time. “These callers will often try to keep the victim on the phone so they can’t verify the threat, and they can be very convincing,” she said. “But if possible, try to use some other means to contact police and to check on your loved ones. That way you may learn quickly that the threat is false.”

“Unfortunately scams such as this are very difficult to solve, as they most often are perpetrated by individuals in foreign countries, as it seems this one was,” she said. “A person’s best protection in cases like this is to be aware that these scams occur, and if a threatening call is received, to notify law enforcement as soon as possible.”

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