The student body has been notified of two men approaching students on campus for donations to a non-existent charity in exchange for candy as part of a recurring scam.
On Oct. 2, at approximately 2:40 p.m in the Student Center Quad near the Center for Computing and Information Science building, a student was approached by two men who scammed him into donating money to their fictional charity.
After the student offered the first suspect a donation, the suspect ran off and the second suspect proceeded to block the student from running after him. The other suspect then convinced the student to donate more money for his separate charity and the student complied and gave him another five dollars.
According to Kieran Barrett, captain of the Montclair State University Police Department (UPD), this scam has been reported by two different students after these incidents took place.
“It is not uncommon on any college campus that scams of this nature take place, given the large population and openness of the campus public areas,” Barrett said. “It may involve the selling of items, a promise of a career or job or involve some religious conversations.”
Barrett urges students to take precautions when approached.
“If anyone asks you for money to support their cause, do not take out or show the contents of your wallet and do not feel you are offending someone if you contact us immediately to check if the person is legitimately involved in sales at the University,” Barrett said. “We have stopped many over the years from becoming victim to the scams with timely notice as things are occurring.”
Being aware that these situations are common, TJ Malarik, a junior majoring in exercise science, has had past experiences with a similar situation on campus.
“I actually have been approached myself by people in the past looking for donations or doing ‘fundraisers’ and I have donated, luckily without incident,” Malarik said. “If people are approaching students on campus in groups to try and scam with a plan to rob us, that’s definitely concerning.”
Michelle Sales, a junior majoring in business, agrees with this thought of people easily falling for scams when they hear the word “charity.”
“People use the word charity and people automatically want to help, but some people don’t have the best intentions,” Sales said. “It’s sad that people can use charity as a way to scam people.”
If the charity seems skeptical, do not offer any money and immediately contact the UPD. The department takes each and every report seriously and acts on each situation to both prevent and respond to any suspicious activity.