State Treasurer Ted Wheeler is cautioning Oregonians to beware of a newly reported telephone scam that appears to be targeting college students, in which a threatening impersonator claims to be from the Oregon 529 Network at the State Treasury.
Callers have reported the scam calls in Corvallis, Eugene and Salem, and at least one person paid $1,000 in hard-to-trace gift cards.
The scammers are using technology to show a false number on caller ID displays, suggesting the calls are placed from the Oregon 529 Network, an office that facilitates education-dedicated savings accounts. The new reports have similarities to a series of bogus calls reported in March, in which caller ID displays falsely showed that the Oregon Treasury was the source of tax collection demands.
The Oregon Treasury doesn’t collect taxes or student loan payments.
“Students and recent graduates are just starting out and the last thing they need is to fall prey to a cynical scam,” said Wheeler. “Protect yourself and your finances and hang up.”
The Oregon 529 Network does not offer student loans. It allows Oregonians to save and invest for future higher education and job training costs, through professionally managed funds.
If you receive a call, hang up immediately and contact your local police or the state Department of Justice.
To learn more about scams in Oregon and what to look out for, visit the Department of Consumer and Business Services at www.oregon.gov/DCBS and the Attorney General’s Scam Alert Network at www.oregonconsumer.gov.