College athlete citation scam targets parents, Topsfield police warn

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TOPSFIELD — The Topsfield Police Department is warning parents and guardians of college students, particularly athletes, about an ongoing scam involving fake citations and demands for payment via Venmo.

According to police, the scam begins with a phone call from someone claiming to be with the college or university police department.

The caller informs the parent or guardian that their student has received a $500 citation for offenses such as open container violations, curfew violations, or trespassing.

The scammer then instructs the parent or guardian to send payment for the alleged citation using Venmo, a popular mobile payment app.

Topsfield police urge anyone who receives such a call to hang up immediately and contact the department at 978-887-6533.

They emphasize that legitimate law enforcement agencies would never demand payment for citations over the phone or through Venmo.

This scam is similar to the well-known “family emergency scam,” in which scammers claim a family member is in trouble and needs money quickly.

Police remind the public to be cautious when receiving unsolicited calls demanding payment and to always verify the legitimacy of the caller before sending any money.

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