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A phone scam is targeting international students and staff at UW-Madison, with scammers threatening deportation if money isn't sent.

The scam has been reported by a number of people to both the UW-Madison Police Department and the Madison Police Department, according to UW-Madison police spokesman Marc Lovicott.

The calls are coming from someone claiming to be a UW-Madison police officer, with the scammer telling the intended victims they owe tax money, and if not paid, a warrant would be issued for their arrest.

"It's clear this is a way to deceive people by stealing their money," Lovicott said. "The caller seems to be preying on international students and staff, oftentimes threatening they will be deported if they don't comply with the requests."

Lovicott said the calls are not from the police, and the tip-off that it's a scam should be the demand itself.

"Government agencies, police departments, etc., will never call you and demand financial information over the phone," he said. "Never give out personal information over the phone. When in doubt, hang up and call the agency that's claiming to be contacting you, or call the police."

Lovicott said if campus students or staff feel victimized by a scammer, call UW-Madison Police, 264-2677.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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