December 02, 2004

Police issue warning about telephone scam

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - Southern Illinois University Carbondale police are reminding students to be careful about divulging personal information after one student nearly became the victim of a telephone scam.

The 18-year-old student received a telephone call in his residence hall room Monday night. The caller promised him an $8,000 federal education grant in exchange for a one-time fee of $257, said Capt. Kay Doan of the SIUC Department of Public Safety.

The student gave the caller his personal information, including bank account information. He later found information on the Internet about an ongoing fraud involving the same 800 telephone number the caller provided him, and contacted police.

The student called his bank the next morning and closed his account, Doan said.

In October, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a warning about a telephone scam in the state promising phone call recipients government grants in exchange for a processing fee ranging from $199 to $249. There is also a variation of the scam where consumers learn they are recipients of a government grant and need to pay a fee to collect the money, she said.

"Students should not give out their personal information and bank information over the telephone to someone they don't know," Doan said.

The investigation is continuing.

Anyone who receives a call from telemarketers promising government grants should call SIUC police at 618/453/2381.

In addition, for more information about grant scams, or to file a complaint, visit the Illinois Attorney General's Web site at or call the agency's consumer fraud hotline in Carbondale at 800/243-0607.