Scholarship scam targets college students

Crooks are taking advantage putting a twist to a popular scam, and they're counting on college students to fall for it
April 14, 2014 8:18:03 PM PDT
It's something every college student wants to hear: You've got a scholarship. But now crooks are taking advantage of that with a twist on a popular scam.

It happened to a student at the University of Houston-Downtown. She thought she'd earned a grant but was scammed out of $2,500.

"I just feel dumb, I feel bamboozled," said the student, who didn't want us to identify her.

She says she's simply embarrassed.

"It's just one big runaround," she said.

Last week, she got a phone call from a 202 area-code number, telling her she's eligible for a $9,000 grant.

"When you are in debt and you've got college books to pay for, you have things that you need -- mortgage, car note -- and someone calls you and says hey you're approved for $9,000, all you see is green," she said.

She was told she'd receive the money only after paying processing fees using pre-paid Green Dot cards, specifically the paper kind. So she and her friend filled six of them.

"They gave us fake a tracking number, fake confirmation," the student's friend said.

Then $2,520 later the money was gone, and the scammer's phone number was disconnected.

"I know if they got away with it with these children, they're gonna do it again," the victim's mother said.

Now, this family is trying to track down the crooks to stop them from scamming anymore students, particularly with graduation around the corner.

"Now I'm out of money that I don't have, barely scraped up enough money to get my cap and gown and stuff," the student said.

The student contacted the attorney general's office to report the scam.

Remember, you won't be contacted by the government to offer you a grant, and there are no processing fees for federal grants.


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