Department of Public Safety

Scam Awareness

Awareness is the best defense against scams. Learn the signs and contact the Department of Public Safety if you have been the victim of a scam.

Scammers are known to target college students, often modifying existing fraud schemes and tailoring them toward college students. Students’ recent independence, and fewer life experiences can leave them susceptible to scammers’ tactics, defrauding even the brightest students. Though most scams are easily detectable, scammers can pose as authority figures of some type and are able to swindle students by arming themselves with information about the person which lends credence to their statements.

Keep in mind that during the months before April, law enforcement usually observes a huge increase in tax scams as well. Scammers will try anything to get your money and/or information.

Example of an Enticing Scam

An example of an enticing scam targeted towards college students is that which promises a 5% reduction on tuition payments for students who use a third-party service to process the payments to the college or university. The scammer makes tuition payment to a student’s account, which is verified by logging into the university's online portal. Once the student confirms the payment has been made, the student will reimburse the scammers. When the education institution later processes the payments, the transactions are declined because the scammers used stolen credit cards to make these payments which result in a chargeback to the student's account. As a result, many victims are unable to pay tuition, having lost their savings to the scammers.

How to Minimize Becoming the Victim of a Scam

  • Be suspicious of any stranger calling or emailing that is asking for money.
  • Safeguard your personal information and take the recommended measures to prevent identity theft.
  • Never provide personally identifiable information such as your social security numbers, birth date, credit card numbers or address.
  • Do not wire money to unknown individuals.
  • Never accept a job that requires depositing checks into your account or wiring portions to other individuals.
  • Be aware that the IRS will never:
    • call you to demand immediate payment and will never call about taxes without having first mailed a paper version of the bill.
    • require a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card and will never request credit card numbers or debit card numbers over the phone.
    • threaten for local police, or any other law enforcement agency to arrest you for non-payment.

If You Have Been the Victim of a Scam

Contact the Brown Department of Public Safety (DPS) at (401) 863-3322 (non-emergency line) to report the incident.  Save any related correspondence or voicemails.

For more information, please contact