New scam targets aspiring students

Local teen, mom avoided scam promising grant money for college


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There's a new scam that is targeting a new group of consumers: teenagers getting ready for college.

Clay County High School student Matthew Mitchell said he got a big offer for a lot of grant money for college, but he was suspicious about the phone call.

"He said you have to go to Western Union and send me $260. I knew then and there, there's no way," said Mitchell's mom, Dana. "Free grant money, but you've gotta pay money to get money? I said no, that's a scam."

The unsolicited call offered Mitchell $7,000 for college, but when Mitchell and his mom heard that there was a fee attached, they knew something was up

Channel 4 and the Mitchell's called the scammers back Friday night.

"Thank you for calling grant department, this is Jeffer, how can I help you?" said the man on the other line.

"I think what's going on is a scam," said Mitchell.

"Mister, it's not a game all right," said the man.

The man who says he's "Jeffer" got angry at Matthew for challenging him on the phone.

"This is not a job," said the scammer. "You're playing with the government."

"Which government are you with, 'Jeffer?'" asked Channel 4's Kent Justice.

"Who the f*** I'm talking with?" said the scammer.

Channel 4's Kent Justice explained to the man on the other line who he was, but the man could not prove that he was part of a legitimate business.

Many colleges offer advice for students to avoid a scholarship or financial aid scam. No college has a fee attached to receiving financial aid or a grant.

Colleges warn that the biggest sign of a scam is if there is a request for banking information over the phone and if someone is claiming that you applied for aid when you did not.