In college, it’s safe to say money is one of the bigger issues people struggle with. So the last thing a student, or anyone in general really, needs is to get money taken right from under them.
Unfortunately, this happened to be the case with a couple students for the past few of weeks. An IRS scam has cost 10 students at North Carolina State University in Raleigh a combined total of $58,000. According to Diane Wilson of ABC 11 News, students have been getting calls from what appears to be the NC State University Police Department, claiming the students were involved in a fraud investigation with the IRS. They were then told to buy thousands of dollars worth of Best Buy gift cards and read the activation codes to the scammers. The scammers would tell the students if they did this, things would work out in the students’ favor when it came time for the fraud investigation.
One of the victims of this scam is NC State student Lily Cloud. The call between her and the scammers terrified her, as they made threats to her involving her credit and her school.
“I was extremely terrified during this call. They said I could have gotten kicked out of the School of Engineering and that my credit score could be ruined, so they were making threats like that,” Cloud said. The fake phone call was also apparently very believable that it was coming from the police department. “It’s the exact same number [the Police Department] has on their website…they knew my name, they knew my college, they knew all sorts of information about me.” Cloud had to stay on the phone with what she thought was the police department while she went and bought the Best Buy gift cards. She had to go to multiple Best Buys and bought different amounts of gift cards. Altogether, Cloud bought $14,000 worth of Best Buy gift cards, and once she had told the scammers the activation codes, she was told to destroy them along with the receipts. It wasn’t until after the phone call she realized what had really happened. Officials are working with other agencies to investigate the crimes, and a safety alert was sent out to NC State University Students warning them of the scammers.