Action 9: Woman looking for financial aid tricked out of $300

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A woman thought she landed money to help pay for college. Instead, she said she got tricked out of hundreds of dollars.
 
Gracie Moore moved east and was hoping to start school at Central Piedmont Community College to become a dental hygienist.
 
She was applying for financial aid and said she got a call saying she may be entitled to $7,500. However, she was told she needed to get a $300 MoneyPak card first to be allowed access to the money.
 
Moore did.
 
When the caller asked for more money, citing various laws, Moore got suspicious.
 
“When they kept asking for more, I was like, it sounds pretty much like a scam now,” she said.
 
The Better Business Bureau said this is what's called an "advance fee" loan scam, which requires people to pay money to get money.
 
“If they’re charging you a fee up front, run away,” said Tom Bartholomy with the BBB.
 
Action 9 called the U.S. Department of Education to see if financial aid officers would ever call a student or ask for money before giving financial aid. The short answer is no.
 
An insider said the department works almost entirely through web and email. A person would fill out information online, say what college he or she plans to attend and the school will reach out to the student.
 
If a student gets a call and is suspicious, call the college’s financial aid office.
 
Moore reported the call to police.
 
“Don’t fall for it,” she said. “It’s a scam. If it’s a phone call that comes to you, don’t fall for it.”
 
She said she doubts she’ll see the $300 again.
 
Click here to find out more information to applying for federal financial aid.