PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Pharell Gedeon could use some free money right about now. "I still have 12 thousand dollars in loans to pay off," she said.
So when students from Palm Beach State College began getting phone calls with promises of additional grant money, it sounded really good.
"You're a working mother, you have bills to take care of, all that other stuff," said Gedeon. "You probably think it's a blessing sent from God."
But college administrators say, it is no blessing, it is a possible scam artist targeting students - via cell phone.
The caller claims to be a representative from Palm Beach State College asking the student for personal banking information in order to send grant money that the student is already eligible for. The only problem is that the college is not making these calls.
College officials are warning students about this particular phone number: (646) 401-0036. A quick internet search finds the number registered to a mobile phone out of the Bronx, New York.
The college uses Facebook, Twitter and email to get the word out about this but some students say - in this day and age - scams come as no surprise.
"Now, they're just looking for somebody new to go after," said student Ed Moore. "Now they're going for college kids."
Sadly, they think some cash-strapped college kid may actually buy into someone offering free money over the phone. "College students who are working hard, who are trying to become somebody to better society and then you have someone else who's trying to scam them," said Virgo Joseph.
Palm Beach State College has the following suggestions to prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud:
· Be careful when giving out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
· Never reply to an email or a pop-up message asking for your personal or financial information.
· Never click on a link in a message that is unfamiliar.
· Protect your Social Security number.