The Union Recorder

February 21, 2013

Scam targets college students

Felicia Cummings
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A new grant scam has made its way to Baldwin County, attempting to empty the wallets of young college students with the promise of an educational grant. 

“We’ve been getting reports that a professional sounding man has been calling college students claiming that they have been chosen for a grant from the Federal Reserve because of their academic achievements,” said Capt. Brad King of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. 

According to King, reports of the scam have increased in the past week.

“We’re hoping to make people aware of it so there won’t be more victims of the crime,” King said.

The ongoing scam involves fraudulent federal officials claiming to be part of an educational grant program. Through unsolicited phone calls, the person informs the target that he or she has been chosen to receive a fictitious $9,000 federal grant. The fraudulent representative then tells the college student that in order to receive the money, they must make a charitable donation of $200. 

“One of the victims told us that the man said the charitable donation was so future college students would be able to receive the grant as well.” King said. After the victim wires these funds via Western Union or Moneygram, they are asked for another large sum of money.

“They are told that since they have been chosen to receive the largest amount of the grant, they must pay a deposit of $620,” said King. 

After the second wire transfer is received, the target gets one more phone call regarding the grant’s estimated arrival. A week passes and no money is received. 

Sheriff’s office officials encourage anyone who receives a suspicious phone call about free money to contact law enforcement so a report can be filed. 

“The first clue that it’s a scam is that grants are not going to fall in your lap,” said King. “In order to receive a grant you have to apply for it.” 

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