Scamming at UT comes to light, affects students

Reece Tincher, General News Reporter

Numerous UT students appear to have witnessed or experienced scams surrounding campus events, including scams where people pretend to be students or scams involving sports games or concert tickets.

“It just kind of came to the surface this year,” said Scott Stanfield, a detective in the investigations mitigation division of the UT Police Department. “We had staff members that are employed by the stadiums running scams by letting people pay them to get into games without tickets.” 

Multiple reports of stadium scams came to the attention of UTPD, Stanfield said. The reports all came from people who realized they weren’t buying tickets, but instead illegally buying entry, and requesting their money back.

“We don’t know the true extent because people are taking the ability to get in cheaper,” Stanfield said. “It’s not employees who have access to tickets themselves, though; they just have access to let people in under the guise of being some kind of staff member or to an entrance where they won’t be noticed. That’s the primary thing we’ve been seeing.”

Scams also occur as people claim to be selling tickets to concerts or other events,  taking advantage of students.

“Someone in my GroupMe said they were selling Harry Styles tickets,” said Shirpa Ganesh, an electrical and computer engineering freshman. 

Ganesh said she believes that the person in the GroupMe was not in her class, and possibly joined online, as some GroupMe chats are open for anybody to join. It took only 10 minutes for her to realize it was a scam when the person stopped responding, Ganesh said.

“I paid for the tickets in CashApp, so that’s where I reported,” Ganesh said. “Their account was then frozen.”

People pretending to be students is another type of scam that UTPD is hoping to investigate further, Stanfield said. Online discussions described people approaching students on campus claiming they are a struggling UT student needing financial assistance and asking for donations. 

“That’s definitely something we want to address, and get them trespassed. This is something students absolutely should know about,” Stanfield said.

Stanfield said that scams often happen due to blackmail or the creation of fake web pages pretending to be affiliated with the University. He said these scams are often hard to investigate due to IP routers and VPNs making it almost impossible to locate the source of the problem.

“Report it immediately to UTPD with anything you know: screenshots, phone numbers, emails and things like that,” Stanfield said. “If you want to know whether something is real or not, you can always call the University directly to (verify).”