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shutterstock_622694117College students at Boston University have been targeted by scammers while using ATMs along Commonwealth Avenue. The students report being approached by individuals who offer a check in exchange for cash. The scammer claims that he is having trouble accessing his bank account (or he does not have one), but needs cash immediately. The scammer offers to write a check, in an amount greater than the cash amount requested, and the student is told to keep the extra for their trouble.

In the time that it takes the bank to process the check and discover that it is fraudulent  the scammer is long gone with the cash. The student is left to deal with the repercussions of the bounced check, incurring any fees from their bank along with the initial loss of the cash that they gave away.

The Boston University police department has received at least eight reports of these situations, occurring at several different ATM locations in the area. They believe that there are at least two suspects who may be part of a group that is scamming students.

It’s important to remember:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and use common sense. If something or someone is making you uncomfortable, don’t use that ATM and report the incident.
  • Never cash a check from someone that you do not know. More than likely, it’s a fake and you won’t be able to get your money back.
  • It’s normal to feel bad for someone’s circumstances, but many consumers are eligible for basic banking accounts.

 

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

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