Scam targets WKU students’ parents posing as WKUPD officers

An+officer+with+the+Bowling+Green+Police+Department+makes+a+phone+call+from+Smoke+Zone+on+116+Old+Morgantown+Road+Thursday%2C+Feb.+23%2C+2022+just+off+the+WKU+campus+in+Bowling+Green%2C+Ky.+

Arthur H. Trickett-Wile

An officer with the Bowling Green Police Department makes a phone call from Smoke Zone on 116 Old Morgantown Road Thursday, Feb. 23, 2022 just off the WKU campus in Bowling Green, Ky.

Michael Crimmins, Administration reporter

A phone scam is targeting Western Kentucky University parents posing as WKU Police Department officers claiming their child was detained and asking for money in return for their release.

Melissa Bailey, WKUPD’s public information officer, said two reports have been filed by parents after they received calls from people claiming to be WKUPD officers Lieutenant Brown and Lieutenant Jackson.

Bailey confirmed that the department had no officers by those names. 

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This type of scam is not new, Bailey said, but up until now had not been a problem at WKU.

“This type of scam has been going around for a while,” Bailey said. “People pose as police officers in other agencies […] This is the first time that I’m aware that this has happened here.”

The two scammers, who Bailey said had students’ names, asked the parents for money over the phone so they would release the child. The reports Bailey received did not specify the amount they were asking for.

Bailey said the reports were filed around 7:30 p.m. by parents after they called to check on their children. WKUPD made a social media post shortly after to warn parents.

“Do not send money over the phone, especially to someone you do not know,” Bailey said. “You can always call the WKU Police Department and verify if there is an issue.”

Impersonating a police officer is a serious criminal offense, but Bailey said it is unlikely WKUPD will have luck finding them.

“Typically these are overseas phone scams in another country,” Bailey said. “Very, very difficult for us to track down where this would come from.”

Bailey hoped that people will be more aware of the scam and encourage people to call the department if there is an issue.

“Hopefully no one has fallen victim [to the scam], but if they have they can call the police department and file a report,” Bailey said.

Administration reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected].