MTSU graduate warns others about scam offering grant money

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s a warning for college students who are seeking federal grant money to help pay for college.

If you receive a call from someone claiming there is grant money available, your best bet is to hang up.

A former Middle Tennessee State University student found that out the hard way, and is now out of a few hundred dollars.

The December graduate told News 2 she was in need of money to pursue her master’s degree and that she received a call that she thought was the answer to her prayers.

According to a Murfreesboro police report, the victim said someone claiming to be with the Federal Grants Department offered her a large amount of money.

There was one catch though – in order to receive the funds, she had to purchase iTunes gift cards. The college graduate did just that and bought $275 worth of gift cards.

“He caught me at a very vulnerable moment,” she said. “That’s a lesson learn and I’ll never do that again.”

After giving the man the numbers on the cards, he asked for more, saying she needed to send an additional $500 worth of iTunes cards because of a block on the funds.

The victim became suspicious and called police.

“I was hurt that I was scammed, you know, I really thought it was legit and I was going to get to receive the money so I could better myself for the future,” she said.

“When students get a call from the blue in terms of something for nothing that should always send up a red flag,” Financial Aid Director Stephen White said.

White said the federal government will not contact students offering grant money.

MTSU students can find out all the information they need, including financial aid at campus MT One Stop.

“The process of making application for financial aid is a free process to be considered for both federal and state aid,” White said.

Financial aid officials said this scam is not new. On the Federal Student Aid website from the Department of Education, there is a section on how students can avoid scams.

“They are getting better at how to scam, phish and so far,” White said.

For any student seeking financial aid, you can logon to the government’s FASFA page, and apply for grant money.

Usually the data is processed and sent to your chosen college or university within three business days.

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