ALERT: TELEPHONE SCAM TARGETS FINANCIAL AID STUDENTS. What to do if they call you.

September 1, 2017 - The SRJC Financial Aid Office has received several complaints from students regarding a telephone scam. Callers imply that they are from our Financial Aid office. They ask personal information such as social security numbers, date of birth, and how students would like to receive their Pell grant disbursements such as by Western Union, credit or debit card, etc. 

Never provide your personal information (address, date of birth, banking information, ID numbers) to anyone you don’t know. SRJC will never ask for this information over the phone.

If you receive a phone call from someone who implies they are from SRJC Financial Aid who asks you for personal identification information like social security number or date of birth, do not provide your personal information. Hang up, and call Financial Aid, (707) 527-4471, with as much of the following information as you have:

  • Your name and phone number
  • The caller’s name and phone number
  • Time and date of the call
  • Brief description of the call

SRJC’s District Police has reported this scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which investigates these kinds of complaints. Help them and other law enforcement investigate scams, protect the community and bring the crooks to justice.

If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint.
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, please contact the SRJC District Police at (707) 527-1000.

Please pass this information along to your coworkers, peers, and students. We all must work together in keeping our community safe. 

Here are other tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect yourself against phone scammers:
• Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request, whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email. 

• Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams. 

• Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine. 

• Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear. 

• Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit or Vanilla. Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods. 

• Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert - or just tell a friend. 

• Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are fake. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls. 

• Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize. 

• Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank. 

• Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox. 

• If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice.