Scammers purporting to represent the Chinese government recently convinced two Boston University students to wire a combined $175,000 to them under false pretenses, police said.
Boston University police confirmed those incidents, along with two similar scams, in a statement posted to the department website Thursday.
Police said the most egregious incident was reported Wednesday. In that case, a student received a phone call from someone claiming to be a Chinese government official.
“The person accused the student of being involved in a crime and used an elaborate ruse which led to video conferencing calls showing individuals in official looking uniforms and using caller ID information that replicated actual Embassy telephone numbers,’’ police said.
The scammers told the student the only way to resolve the issue was to wire money to an overseas location, the statement said, and the student ultimately wired $150,000 in several installments before contacting campus police.
Another case was reported Tuesday, BU police said.
In that matter, officials said, a student also received a call from a purported Chinese government official who accused the student of criminal involvement and threw out a similar ultimatum: Wire cash to fix this. The student wired $25,000 overseas before contacting BU police, according to the statement.
Students have been scammed out of smaller amounts as well.
The statement said another incident was reported to campus police Monday. In that case, a BU student received an e-mail purporting to be from Walmart regarding a job offer, police said.
The student began a text correspondence with the scammers who sent the student a $2,800 check, according to police.
“The student was asked to obtain a total of $2,500 in money orders, send them to the suspects and keep the remaining money as their pay,’’ police said. “The victim forwarded the money orders and found the check did not clear.’’
Another case was reported to BU police on Sept. 6.
In that instance, police said, a student received a phone call from someone posing as an Amazon services representative. The phony rep told the student that if they forked over $900 through a payment app, the student would get $1,800 as compensation for working as a “secret shopper.’’
“The victim forwarded $900 to the suspects and no money was returned to the student victim,’’ the statement said.
Campus police urged members of the BU community to remain vigilant against fraudsters.
“Some schemes are designed to capitalize on a fear of not cooperating with government authorities and many seem to target the Asian community,’’ the statement said. “We remind students that they should not enter into any financial transactions with unknown people online.’’
Colin Riley, a BU spokesman, said Friday via e-mail that the university is not aware of any additional students who’ve been victimized since the alert went out Thursday. No suspects have been identified and no stolen funds have been recovered, he said.
Riley added that “all related law enforcement partners have been notified.’’