UW grad student scammed out of $15K, Madison police say

August 31, 2018

Debit gift cards are quick and convenient not only for consumers, but scammers as well.

A UW-Madison graduate student was scammed out of $15,000 Thursday by scammers who kept her on the phone for five hours while she bought gift cards to take care of her “problem.”

The 24-year-old student called police after the scammers demanded she buy more gift cards over and above the $15,000 in cards already purchased.

“She provided the crooks with the card numbers,” said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

“They had convinced her her Social Security number had been compromised and was now associated with criminal activity,” DeSpain said. “She was told to comply or a federal investigation could be opened which could lead to her assets being frozen and her being deported.”

She realized she had been duped when the scammers wanted more money and she demanded to speak to an officer in person.

Madison police have issued warnings in the past of scammers targeting students, especially foreign students.

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