Cleveland man and 40 others victimized by college grant scam

Ohio Attorney General MIke DeWine issues warning

CLEVELAND - Anthony Warren of Cleveland thought it was his lucky day after he received a phone call letting him know he qualified for an $8,000 federal grant.

However, the offer turned out to be a scam and cost Warren nearly $500.

Warren told NewsChannel5 he was suspicious about the offer, but the con artist on the other end of the phone seemed legitimate.

"The caller told me the government is passing out money, they pick people throughout the country," explained Warren. "Your name came up, so you qualify for this grant."

Warren was told he'd have to pay for taxes and a processing fee to complete the grant application, and he was instructed to send in $489 first.

"The caller said what you got to do is go get a Green Dot card, and send the money into us," said Warren. "Then we'll send the money back, along with the $8,000."

Within 12 hours Warren realized he was the victim of a scam, when all the phone numbers he was given to collect the grant money were a dead end.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has issued a warning about the bogus offer and reports more than 40 Ohioans have already been taken by the grant scam.

"They know that kids are going back to school, people can be short on money at this point," said DeWine.

"I think if you have any transaction where the person on the other end of the phone wants you to wire transfer money or purchase a Green Dot card, which means that money can go out instantly, you better take a deep breath and think about it, because in all likelihood this is scam."

Both DeWine and Warren warn consumers they should never make a quick decision when confronted by a phone offer, especially when asked to wire of send money in the form of a Green Dot card.

"I guess people are getting so caught up on the internet and the phone, they believe everything that comes up," said Warren. "I think we got to be more careful, and pay more attention, and have a background check on anybody that you get involved with on the phone."

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