by: Mark Becker Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
At 57, Edison Cobos is still eager to learn. Unfortunately, he learned a tough and expensive lesson when a woman claiming to be a government employee called and offered to help him get federal grant money.
“She offered me $10,000,” Cobos said.
It wasn’t free money. He agreed to send them $200 for a processing fee. When they asked for $1,000 more, he knew he’d been conned.
“It hurts, hurts my pocket when I send the money to those guys,” he said.
“It’s an easy avenue for criminals to use to be able to prey on someone’s need,” said fraud detective Chris McNeil, with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
McNeil said with school getting ready to start, students looking for ways to pay for college are easy targets.
Amber Cason can tell you that. She needs financial aid to pay the bills and got a suspicious email just before the start of last school year.
“It was saying we were in a scholarship program; all we had to do was pay them $50 to be the program or something,” said the University of North Carolina at Charlotte student. “It was a scam.”
Bruce Blackmon is the director of financial aid at UNC-Charlotte.
“The unfortunate thing is by the time they reach me they've already paid the money and the credit card's been charged, and it's too late get the money back,” he said.
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