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Scammers in sheep's clothing

By Jennae Jungers
On November 2, 2015

Scammers often knock on doors at campus apartments and dress cassually to blend in. Photo illustration by Jennae Jungers.

Traveling scammers have recently visited the apartment complexes near Kirkwood Community College.

Matthew Rairden, Kirkwood Courts and Campus View office manager, said he has been tracking and kicking out scammers for seven years. Rairden said this year, Kirkwood Courts and Campus View has been visited by traveling scammers who are part of the Interstate Company. 

The scammers ask students to purchase magazine subscriptions that would go to hospitalized children, according to Rairden. The scammers also claimed that students who gave them money could win a trip to Europe.

Rairden said the scammers travel in groups and make it a priority to hit as many towns as possible. He added they usually show up at students’ doors in pajamas or dressed as a casual student. Many of their ages range from 18 to 21, which allows them to victimize more people, especially college students because they can blend in with ease. 

Katie Mitchell, nursing, said, “My roommate knocked on my bedroom door and told me that the scammers were at the front door. So I went back to the text I got from management and called the number they provided and told them that two of the scammers were at our door trying to sell magazines.” 

“Management said they would be right over and a couple minutes later they were at our door. Management told them they needed to leave and the scammers tried to convince him to let them knock on a few more doors. Management said no and they left soon after,” she added. 

Rairden said some students have filed complaints about scammers pressuring them into going to an ATM to get cash. Rairden stressed students should not open the door for strangers because the scammers have been known to view personal possessions and return later to break in. He added the scammers have been known to be violent as well.

There were 82 formal complaints reported in 2012 about the Interstate group alone, according to the Better Business Bureau. 

Rairden said if students see or are approached by the scammers, take caution and avoid confrontation at all cost. He added they don’t have a permit to sell and are out to take students’ money.

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