Carnegie Mellon University
November 29, 2017

Safety Alert: Telephone Scams

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

I am writing to urge you to use caution regarding telephone scams, a continuing problem here and across the nation. Last April, I issued a crime alert regarding these scams, in which victims are called by people pretending they work for the Pittsburgh Police, Pennsylvania State Police, FBI, IRS, or in some cases Carnegie Mellon University. The callers are able to “spoof” the actual phone numbers of the agencies they claim to represent so it appears to be legitimate on caller ID.

The callers direct the victims to purchase gift cards and to provide the caller with the card numbers. In one of these instances, the caller directed the victim to personally meet them with the cards. Victims also are often told they owe money from fines, back taxes or other unpaid debts.

None of these agencies conduct business in this fashion. You should NEVER comply with such requests. If you receive such a call, hang up and immediately report the call to University Police at 412-268-2323.

In closing, I encourage you to be extra aware of your surroundings and vigilant this time of year as the holiday season often sees an increase in thefts and other crimes. Please report any suspicious individuals and activities to University Police at 412-268-2323.


Chief Tom Ogden
Carnegie Mellon University Police