The Department of Campus Safety regularly reviews incidents to determine patterns, especially when it comes to scams. This page is updated as new information becomes available. Please see below for common scams and red flags to improve your safety both in person and over the phone and internet.

On this page: Scam Red Flags | Phone Call Scams | Venmo / Payment App Scams | Street Scams

Scam Red Flags

Law Enforcement, Government Agencies, Shipping Companies and other Entities will NOT ask you to:

  • Send Money via a Bank Wire, Cash App, Venmo, or other payment service
  • Purchase Cryptocurrency
  • Pay for Services with Gift Cards
  • Verify Your Identity over a Phone Call or Text
  • Provide proof you are not involved in International Criminal Activity such as Money Laundering or Identity Theft
  • Continuously check in with them to verify your identity and/or whereabouts

If you receive a phone call of this nature, please do not engage, hang up and notify Campus Safety at 212.998.2222.

Phone Call Scams

Scammers may pose as Law Enforcement (International, Domestic), FBI, Embassies, Consulates, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security, Shipping Carriers and more. Scammers will ask for payment or verification in a variety of methods:  

  • Gift Cards

  • Cash / Money Wiring

  • Personal Information / Identity

  • Webcam Viewing

Example: Someone pretending to be from a Shipping Carrier calls you from an unknown number, and claims that your identity has been implicated in illegal activity, such as money laundering. The Shipping Carrier then transfers you to someone who says they are local law enforcement. They ask you to wire them $10,000 in order to clear your name, saying they will return it.

Tips:

  • Do not answer phone calls from numbers you do not know. If you do answer the phone, do not say your name. Hang up immediately once you’ve determined it is a scam.
  • Do not engage with callers posing as agency officials - they will not call you to get in touch with you.
  • Do not send money, gift cards or any identifiable information to the entity.

Resources:

Venmo / Payment App Scams

In-person interactions with individuals ‘selling’ items or asking for donations on the street may ask you to pay via Venmo or a Payment App. This could be anything from purchasing fruit snacks to making a donation to a local charity.

Example: Someone approaches you on the street asking to purchase snacks in support of their sports team. When you say you don’t have cash, they offer to send themselves the money via a payment app and ask for your phone.

Tips:

  • Do not hand your phone to anyone
  • Ensure that you have a password on your Venmo or Payment App account
  • If someone is about to take possession of your phone, lock it if possible, to prevent them from opening the app

Resources:

Street Scams

Be aware of individuals on the street appealing to your sense of goodwill as they ask you for help. Many of their offers are unfortunately not real and are designed to elicit money and resources from unsuspecting persons. Some requests may include:

  • Cashing Checks

  • Baby Formula

  • Purchasing items such as food or electronics after a Bump and Break

Example: Someone approaches you on the street saying they're affiliated with NYU and need to pay their Bursar bill with a check. They say the check is more money than they need, and will give you half of the $5,000 after you deposit it. They ask to come with you to your local bank to make the withdrawal.

Tips: If you encounter someone asking for assistance, please decline, keep walking, and notify Campus Safety at 212.998.2222 or through the Safe NYU app.

Resources: