UCLA authorities warn of extortionist, police impersonator targeting victims by phone

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The UCLA Police Department on Monday issued a warning about a police impersonator and extortionist who has targeted students and staff by phone.

Victims began reporting the incidents on Saturday, involving "someone claiming to be from campus police," the agency said in a statement.

"The caller claims the student, staff member, or a loved one has an arrest warrant and then demands payment," the news release said, adding that the caller may also claim the victim must pay a fine or they will be arrested.

The unidentified suspect is likely to demand payment by wire transfer or prepaid gift cards, investigators said.

The police department noted that its officials "will never call members of the public and demand payment."

According to the news release, similar scams involve a caller claiming that a family member has been kidnapped.

Anyone who has received such a call is urged to call the UCLA Police Department at (310) 825-1491.
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