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Frostburg State University Police Warn of Scam Threat Following Incident

Frostburg State University Police are warning of a scam following an incident on Saturday, Oct. 22, in which an FSU student and his parents were simultaneously led to believe the other was in danger of being killed if they didn’t wire money to a threatening caller.

The student’s mother notified police that they believed their son, an FSU football player, had been abducted when his coach reported to her that he had not shown up for Saturday’s game. While police were speaking to the parents, the parents received a phone call threatening that their son would be killed within 30 minutes if funds were not wired to the caller.

Meanwhile, the son had received a call saying that his father would be killed if he didn’t pay, so he was at a nearby store trying to wire money when his parents and coach were expecting him to appear at the football game.

At one point, the caller said the son was being held at that store. When police responded to that location, they found the student unharmed, but distraught and trying to wire money. 

No one was injured in the incident, but a significant amount of money was wired to the scammers before police were able reach the son.

A similar incident was reported in Virginia in recent weeks, leading FSU Police to issue a caution to anyone who might receive such a call with a threat to a loved one to contact police and to try to contact their loved one through other means, such as with another phone or a text. 

“These callers will often try to keep the victim on the phone so they can’t verify the threat, and they can be very convincing,” said FSU Police Chief Cynthia Smith. “But if possible, try to use some other means to contact the police and to check on your loved ones. That way you may learn quickly that the threat is false.”

Police are continuing to investigate the incident. Anyone with information in case should contact University Police at 301-687-4223 (4222 in an emergency) or use the anonymous tip line at 301-687-STOP (7867).

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589