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Campus Watch Archives

January 23, 2004

Brazos Garage, 210 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Occurred on 01-22-04 at 6:35 p.m.

Theft of Service: A green 1999 Volkswagen exited the northeast vehicle exit by tailgating another vehicle through the control arm. The driver of the vehicle failed to pay for the parking fees. Loss value: $42.00.

Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, 1900 Red River

Occurred between 12-13-03 and 01-20-04 at 8:00 a.m.

Theft: A key ring containing three keys was stolen out of an unsecured mailbox in a secured 1st floor office. Loss value: $4.50.

Jesse H. Jones Communication Center, Building A, 2504-A Whitis Avenue

Occurred on 01-22-04 at 12:30 p.m.

Criminal Trespass / Resisting Arrest: A non-UT subject was found in a UT professor's 5th floor office. The subject refused to leave the office after the professor asked her to do so. The subject then refused to leave after a UT officer advised her if she did not leave she would be arrested for criminal trespass. The subject began to resist arrest by laying on the ground in a "fetal position." The subject had to be carried out of the building.

Kinsolving Dormitory, 2605 Whitis Avenue

Occurred on 01-22-04 at 2:00 a.m.

Harassment: An unidentified subject called a 2nd floor resident's telephone and made several lewd statements.

San Jacinto Residence Hall, 309 East 21st Street

Occurred on 01-22-04 at 11:00 a.m.

Suspicious Activity: An unidentified caller called a 4th floor resident, advised he was with Visa Credit Card Services. The caller knew the resident's address and telephone number then asked the resident to "confirm his social security number." The resident provided the caller with his social security number. After the telephone call, the resident called Visa credit card customer service to verify the authenticity of the suspicious call. The resident was advised they had not called him to verify a social security number. The resident cancelled his credit card.

Service Building, 304 East 24th Street

Occurred on 01-22-04 at 4:25 p.m.

Driving While License Suspended / Assist Outside Agency (3 Counts): A non-UT subject was involved in a one vehicle collision while driving a white 1998 International truck in the southwest service drive of the building. The subject was found to be operating the vehicle while his driver's license was suspended for multiple traffic violations. The subject was also found to have three outstanding outside agency arrest warrants for failure to maintain proof of financial responsibility and speeding.

300 West 22nd Street

Occurred on 01-22-04 at 6:10 p.m.

Public Intoxication (2 Counts): Two non-UT subjects were found on a Capital Metro Bus yelling obscenities and displaying a combative stance towards other people. Both subjects were found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the point they were a physical endangerment to themselves.

Scam Alert

This scam sounds like an 'honest' attempt to verify an "unusual purchase". Go to http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/creditcard.asp for further information. It works like this:

A person calls saying they are calling from the Security and Fraud Department at Visa or Master Card. They say your credit card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and they are calling to verify.

They then ask if you purchased an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona. They give you your credit card number. When you say "No". The caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. They say that this is a company they have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards.

They then say that a letter will be sent to you showing a $497.99 credit. They then give you your address and ask if that is correct?" You say "yes". Caller continues by saying they will be starting a Fraud investigation and if you have any questions, you should call the 800 number listed on your card 1-800-VISA and ask for Security. They say that you will need to refer to a "Control Number" which they then give you.

Here is where the fraud occurs:

The caller then says "they need to verify you are in possession of your card." They tell you to look on the back of the credit card. There are 7 numbers. The first 4 are your card numbers and the last 3 are the security numbers that verify you are in possession of the card.

These are the numbers you use to make internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller then asks you to give them the last 3 numbers to verify that you have the card and it has not been lost or stolen. When you do, they say "That is correct" even though they did not have these 3 numbers. They then ask if you have any questions and tell you not to hesitate to call back if you do.

After hanging up the caller will put a $497.99 purchase on your card. By the time you get your statement, you think the credit is coming and don't do anything. Because of your delay in reporting the fraud, it's harder to actually file a fraud report.

The scam as described above is not extraordinarily difficult or expensive to pull off. It also assumes the scammer already has the names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers (plus expiration dates). Just as the Internet and other technologies have greatly expanded the possibilities for making credit card purchases without the need to physically present a card to the seller, so have they created additional opportunities for identity thieves to make profitable use of purloined credit card numbers. After getting a hold of credit card numbers (often through such simple expedients as rummaging through trash to find discarded receipts or statements), crooks can then employ a variety of means (e.g., mail order, phone order, Internet purchases, posing as merchants) to obtain money and merchandise by charging against the cardholder's account.

The scheme outlined above might be categorized as a "social engineering" scam, a technique which preys upon people's unquestioning acceptance of authority and willingness to cooperate in order to extract from them sensitive information (such as computer passwords or credit card numbers). In this case the scammers' target data are the three-digit security codes found on the back of MasterCard and Visa cards.

The best protection against these types of telephone schemes for obtaining sensitive credit card information is to always verify the identities of the people with whom you speak. If you have security questions or concerns about your credit card, call the financial institution who issued your card directly. If someone contacts you by phone about your credit card, ask the caller to provide his name, department, and extension, then hang up and call him back through the phone number listed on your credit card or billing statement.