WKU students receive calls and emails from scammers

Emma Collins

In recent weeks, several WKU students have received mysterious phone calls from individuals claiming to be members of the Bowling Green FBI.

The students were told they must pay off their student loans immediately or risk jail time.

Karli Ecton, Chicago senior, said she received a call from an unknown Frankfort number, and when she answered the call a woman told Ecton she was facing three lawsuits.

“She said they were about education taxes,” Ecton said. “She read off my Topper email and had me confirm that it was correct, which it was.”

After confirming her email, Ecton said she was told she must deal with her lawsuits or the woman would file for Ecton’s arrest.

“I then freaked out because I had no idea what she was talking about,” Ecton said.

Ecton said the caller began asking Ecton about her tax returns. At that point, Ecton said she told the caller she wanted to call her parents.

“Then she got mean, saying, ‘Do not call your parents,’” Ecton said.

Eventually, Ecton hung up the phone and called her dad, who told her it was a scam.

The caller never tried to call Ecton back, and Ecton said when she dialed the number again, it was disconnected.

Bob Skipper, the director of the Office of Media Relations, said students have received both email and phone calls from a number of different scammers.

“It seems like these kinds of scams are happening more and more,” Skipper said. “I know a lot of people have gotten calls supposedly by the IRS.”

Skipper said he became aware of the scam after he received a call from Officer Ronnie Ward.

Ward, public information officer for the Bowling Green Police Department, said at least two WKU students had contacted the BGPD about a scam involving student loans.

“This particular one, we knew they were targeting Western students just because of the type of scam,” Ward said.

After hearing from the students, Ward said he knew the BGPD needed to warn students about the scam, so he decided to contact Skipper, who then sent out an email to the entire WKU student body.

In his email, Skipper warned students not to give out any personal information.

Skipper said in the past he has received information from students regarding several different scams, not just ones involving student loans.

“A lot of students have sent me back emails where they have received things supposedly from the [WKU] help desk telling them they have to verify their email account,” Skipper said. “Again, that’s not legit; that’s a scam. Someone’s just trying to get your information.”

Skipper said many of these email scams contain links students are asked to click. When clicked, these links often cause viruses on the computer.

Whether the scam is through phone or email, Skipper said, there is not much students can do.

“The best thing is just to ignore it,” Skipper said. “There’s not a lot that can really be done.”

Ward said so far he does not know of any students who have given money to the scammers. Because of this, he expects the scam to be short-lived.

“We anticipate it going away pretty soon and [something] replacing it,” Ward said.

If students do receive a phone call, Ward said students should just ignore the call.

“Don’t even pay any attention to it,” Ward said. “Just hang up.”