Students targeted in financial scam

Three international students have reported being the targets of a series of financial scams on campus this fall, according to University Police Director Dolores Stafford.

Stafford said the three students were approached on the street and enticed into a cash scam.

“They’re looking for people they perceive they can talk into something,” Stafford said.

One victim was approached Nov. 5 on the corner of I and 19th streets by a couple who showed him a green pouch containing a stack of $100 bills. The scammers offered to share the money with the victim if he accompanied them to a bank at which one subject claimed to work, Stafford said.

The student was instructed to take $3,000 out of his bank account to add to a new account where the scammers said they would put the money. Stafford said the victim reported that he had been told to remove the $3,000 to prevent the transaction from appearing suspicious.

The victim said he was then told to wait outside the bank while the scammers opened the new account. When they returned, the scammers told the victim to go into the bank to retrieve his money from the bank supervisor. The supervisor told the victim no account had been opened, and the subjects fled while he was inside, Stafford said.

In the first reported incident Sept. 17, a victim was approached by a woman on the corner of I Street and New Hampshire Avenue asking for directions. She was joined by two other women who had a green pouch filled with money.

The scammers told the victim the money was real, claiming the money had been tested at a bank where one of them worked. They asked the victim to withdraw money from her account to add to the new account where the found money was to be placed, Stafford said.

The victim withdrew $1,700 and gave it to the scammers, who went into the bank where they said they were opening the account. The scammers then told the victim the bank manager wanted to see her, but when she entered the bank, the scammers fled with the money, Stafford said.

Another student was approached Oct. 2 by two women, but she said she would not cooperate and walked away, Stafford said.

UPD is investigating all three incidents, and Stafford said the department believes they are related.

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