AlertSU warns of fraudulent phone calls

Sept. 20, 2022, 5:44 p.m.

Multiple people have reported receiving fraudulent phone calls from someone impersonating a Stanford Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) deputy, according to an AlertSU notification sent Monday.

According to the alert, the SUDPS number has been spoofed, making it appear to recipients that the call is coming from an official and published phone number for the public safety department. The alert said that the impersonator also set up a voicemail box under the identity of an SUDPS deputy.

In these calls, the impersonator told the recipient they were in legal trouble, according to the alert, which noted that such calls can be an attempt to extract fines or payments. SUDPS does not make phone calls to collect fines or other payments, and does not follow up on outstanding warrants or facilitate the court schedule, the alert said.

SUDPS spokesperson Bill Larson wrote that the identity of the impersonator is unknown and two separate incidents have been reported. Larson confirmed that an investigation is active and ongoing.

The alert recommended that individuals should hang up and call SUDPS if they receive such a call. If individuals receive a similar call and are unsure about the authenticity of the caller, the alert added, individuals should ask the person calling for their full name and a call back number, and then disconnect.

In order to avoid phone scams, SUDPS asks individuals to never provide personal information, location details, electronic payments or cashier’s checks to unverified callers. If a caller demands immediate action or asks an individual to not hang up, the alert added, individuals should disconnect immediately, according to the alert. And if a caller threatens an individual’s safety, individuals should disconnect and call 9-1-1 immediately.

This article has been reflected to include comment from SUDPS.

Karsen Wahal ‘25 is a staff writer from Arizona. He’s studying economics, computer science, and statistics. Contact karsen at [email protected].

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