University of Wisconsin–Madison

How often does cyber fraud happen on campus?

The truth of the matter is that cyber crimes do happen, and they can happen to you, but there are some ways you can protect yourself.

Cyber fraud at UW-Madison

There are a low number of cyber fraud cases reported at UW-Madison, but the latest data shows a new threat and other recurring types of tech scams according to UW-Madison Police Lieutenant Brent Plisch.

For the first time, there were three similar reports of “job centers” advertising for student employment. The ads asked to complete a job application, at which point the person was asked to wire money online, usually to a destination outside the United States.

The second trend was similar to previous phone schemes where the caller reported being from a law enforcement or IRS-type organization and requested money via gift cards. In recent weeks, UW Police noted several reports of international students being contacted via phone by someone claiming to be an officer and demanding money.

What to do if you think a scammer is calling

UW-Madison Police say just hang up. Government officials whether FBI, IRS, or local law enforcement will never call to tell someone they have a warrant, and need to pay money, then ask for payment via gift cards or wiring money.

When in doubt, make a call to verify.  “If I’m on the phone with someone and want to discuss confidential or sensitive information, I’m not offended at all if they confirm my identity by calling the main UWPD dispatch number and then dispatch transfers the call to me.  In fact, I’m really proud of people when they do that” says Lieutenant Plisch.

On their website, UW-Police list the correct method of resolving fines, including costs.

Internet Crime Data

According to 2017 stats, Wisconsin ranks 24th in the nation  for internet crime complaints, down from 23rd place (California remains number one).  Wisconsin also ranks 26th in the nation on money lost to internet crimes totaling over $10 million dollars lost.

The UW-Madison Office of Cybersecurity agrees with the UW-Madison police assessment to beware of clicking links in emails, don’t transfer or wire anything to anyone, and call UW Police if in doubt.

To learn more about protecting yourself online:

If you believe you’ve been the victim of cyber fraud, contact UWPD at 608-264-2677.