Wire transfer scam targets PSJA students over the phone
Sat, 19 May 2012 02:55:57 GMT —
They had his cell phone number and his name.
"He told me you are being awarded a grant for $7,800 by the government."
Angel Trevino was hooked.
They told me it was free money from the government."
The caller sounded legit to him too.
"'Here's my employee ID... Here's my name,'" he recalled about the conversation.
At 17-years-old, the college-bound PSJA North student was already thinking about how he would use the money.
"I'm going to put in savings... And I'm going to use this for college," he said. "This is a big relief... I don't have to work all summer... I don't have to ask my dad for money... I just felt so, so happy."
But there's a catch.
As with most to-good-to-be-true offers, this one required him to send a $200 security deposit via Western Union to process the grant.
Angel turned to his father mark for that money.
"I said there's no way I'm going to give him $200... We need to look further into this."
Dad did some digging.
He found out it's a free process to apply for government grants.
They're also never awarded over the phone, according to Mark.
He was convinced, it was a scam.
"The thought of knowing if they can get one person to do it... Can cause almost like a plague... If one did it then it excites another friend to do it if they have the money."
The company in question referred Action 4 News to a website when questioned about who they were.
That site didn't exist.
Reporter: My question to you as TV news station is: Why does the student who received it have to Western Union $200 in order to receive the grant?Company: "That is to verify information... OK? We randomly select around 20,000 people in all of theU.S. and we want this money to go to the right person... And to the right address."
Angel calls it a close call.
He's warning other students not to fall prey to the wire transfer scam.
"We need money for college... But if you get approach with an offer that great... Please, please be careful with what you do," he said.If you have a question about a government grant offer, contact a school TMs financial aid office to verify the information.