A typical day on the Le Moyne College campus for sophomore Martino Laterza quickly became a nightmare after he received a frightening phone call concerning his academic future.
He got a call from a man named, “Roy” – who was calling to claim an unpaid education tax.
“When he said, ‘Your education is on the line,’ I just freaked out,” Laterza shared. “Because it’s what means the most to me right now, is getting through college, getting a job and being successful.”
The scammer claiming to work for the IRS knew everything about Laterza – from the college he attended to the programs he was studying.
Laterza was ordered to pay $3,000 or pay the “consequences.”
“There’s a federal case against you and a warrant out for your arrest,” Laterza said as he described the phone conversation. “You need to settle this. It’s going to the Federal Court at 1 o’clock this afternoon. Here it is 10 o’clock so I have three hours until I’m found guilty.”
Laterza was advised to not tell anyone else about the debt or they would also be sent to Federal Court.
Next, the scammer told him to purchase iTunes gift cards to pay the debt and lift the arrest warrant. With nowhere else to turn, Laterza agreed to pay what he could afford at the time, $400.
One of Laterza’s professor’s suspects that his public LinkedIn profile may have been tipped off the scammer because it had his contact information and education credentials as well.
“Even though I did take my resume off and privatized my LinkedIn – if anybody ever calls me with that same information, I still won’t believe them because someway, somehow, it’s still out there,” Laterza said.