It's hard to ignore free money but one Northeast Ohio woman says a college grant scam can cost you

Posted at 7:02 AM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 07:17:32-05

A free college grant? It's something every student wants but one resident from Old Brooklyn warns about a scam targeting students on Facebook through a friend request.

A student from Northeast Ohio wants to teach you something about promises of a grant.

"I hated school when I was a kid,” said Suzi Smith from Old Brooklyn. She’s 62 years old and, yes, a college student. 

"All I want to do…is to walk the stage in a cap and gown."

Five years ago she became disabled and headed back to school. "It keeps me busy,” said Smith. “It keeps my brain from turning into mush."

With that need and the love of learning, imagine how relieved she would be if she got a free government grant. 

"$10,000, $25,000...any amount of money is a huge temptation,” she told us.

Well, the devil came calling. A Facebook "friend" she didn't know but Smith had accepted the request anyway, messaged her saying she gets “$25,000.”

Curious but skeptical, Smith texted a number that "friend" gave her. 

"He sent me a screenshot of the government grant program," said Smith. But he wouldn't say where he worked, or his title. He did say he needed 50 bucks for fees.

Suzi tried to call him. "Why aren't you answering your phone?” she asked the guy via text. “He said, 'Oh, I'm very busy."

Even though Smith might have wanted it all to be real, she knew it wasn't. 

"If you don't watch programs like Channel 5 airs about scams like this, if you don't have that, you're going to fall for these scams."

And even though Smith has a passion for learning, this time she's the one teaching. 

"These people are deviant and you've got to be careful," Smith warned.

Smith ended up reporting this scam. People from the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and the Ohio Attorney General's Office say you should, too, if the scammers contact you. Those groups work together to fight back against the scams.