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Rip-Off Alert: Phone scam targets college-aged students

A new phone scam is targeting a vulnerable population: college-aged students. (KSNV file)

The FBI says the latest scam has similar characteristics of several other fraud scams they have seen in the past.

The scammers are using government phone numbers and acting as FBI or IRS agents.

"The spoofing technique allows someone to mask the phone number that appears on caller ID. So you can make it appear that a call is coming from the police department, from a government agency," said FBI agent Michelle Lee.

Lee says the scam is targeting a vulnerable population -- college-aged students -- and it happens often.

So far, Texas college students say they are targeted with scams like this often.

"I get phone calls probably like every month from someone like saying I owe taxes or something," said one student.

"Well it happens like multiple times and usually the first six digits are the same digits as my phone number so it's kind of weird, like why is it a phone number so similar to me," said another student.

Lee says once on the phone, the scammers demand immediate payment for unpaid taxes or other debts to the government.

"They claimed that the students owed fees for student loans or various fees that were owed related to their studies," said Lee.

Lee says the caller even knows the name, background, and personal cell phone of the person they are calling, another thing making it look like its legit.

"It's really important to be skeptical and just don't take the word from someone because it appears that they are calling from a government office," said Lee.

That's advice we can all use, with these scams popping up here too.

Remember this -- the FBI says any attempt for the government to collect money by phone should be a red flag.

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