The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Police warn students about magazine scam

By Gary Collins/reporter

NE Campus again has been targeted by another round of fraudulent magazine sales.

The latest victim was approached in the NE Student Center Sept. 22. She reported the incident on Sept. 23.

“A young lady came in and reported that she had given this young man $45 for a magazine subscription,” Sgt. Tony Woolum of the TCC Police Department said. “We searched the campus everyday after that just doing foot patrols in various buildings and didn’t see anybody.”

Woolum said the salespeople usually start in the Student Center. If not caught, they move into other areas of the campus, picking areas with a high student population.

This is the third incident within a year and a half. The first was in February 2008, and the latest was in March.

“It’s typically the same organization that shows up almost every fall and every spring — the same company,” he said.

In the 2008 incident, the salesperson said he worked for the Alliance Service Company of Rolling Meadow, Ill. Last spring, it was said to be a fundraiser for the radio-television program.

Most of the incidents were college-age males approaching females. Only once was a female used to target males.

The targeted females have been between 20 and 30 years of age and are alone when approached.

“They often begin with flattery and some kind of pick-up line,” Woolum said. “This lady said the young man came up to her and said ‘Are you a nice person or a mean person?’ It’s always something along those lines where they compliment their looks. They will do anything to put the females at ease.”

The male told the student he was enrolled in a speech class on campus, and it was a class project to use different lines to meet people and see how they react.

The magazine subscription was a contest sponsored through speech classes, he said. The more subscriptions sold would earn him points toward winning a trip.

The communication arts department chair said the man is not associated with a speech class.

“Any project that students do would have to be approved by the department. This has not, so they are just probably using it [the class] as a cover,” Lisa Benedetti said.

The district policy states an individual salesperson or solicitor cannot contact students on campus, except in connection with sales for the college Bookstore.

The suspect was described as a young male 21-25 years old, between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches and weighing approximately 250 pounds, wearing a blue Dallas Cowboys cap and a green shirt and blue jeans.

Woolum said the suspects ask for cash first before offering to go to with the victim to an ATM. They only agree to accept a check as a last resort. The salesperson has not offered receipts.

“Only in one case of the 15 years I’ve been with the college that anyone has actually received magazines. I told the young lady in front of the salesperson, ‘You’re never going to get your magazines,’” he said.

“About four months later, she comes into the office and said, ‘I got the magazines.’”

Woolum said that was most likely an attempt to convince the student and the school that the sale was legitimate.

When confronted by campus police, the salesperson is polite and compliant. TCC police will issue a criminal trespass warning and the information is then sent to central dispatch.

No incidents have been reported on the other campuses.

Anyone with information should contact the TCC Police Department at 817-515-8911.

Signs of suspicious behavior:

Gives vague reasoning

Wants cash only

Does not offer a receipt

Does not give his name

Does not give instructor’s name 

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