Watch out for scammers on campus this semester

Certain Hamline students were scammed into giving money to on-campus visitors.

Dylan Stage, Reporter

A group of scammers recently violated campus policy when they approached students on Hamline property and solicited them for money.

The scammers, who appeared to be targeting students of Asian descent, went around campus asking various students to donate to the fake nonprofit organization Children’s Joy Foundation USA.

Last week, Hamline’s Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) sent out an email alerting students of the scammer situation.

“We heard from a few of our members that this happened to them,” APAC Vice President Amanda Chen said. “Some students fell for the scam and gave them their credit card information.”

The scammers violated one of Hamline Public Safety’s rules regarding solicitation since Hamline is private property.

Under ‘Reporting Suspicious Persons or Activity’ on page 7 of Hamline’s 2018 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report, it is stated that “University facilities are designed for use by members of the Hamline community only, to include students, faculty, staff and sanctioned visitors. People not fitting this description should be reported to Hamline Public Safety and will be asked to leave campus.”

The university’s sidewalks, as well as Hewitt Avenue,  are an exception to this rule, because they are considered city property. The scammers, however, exceeded those boundaries when they approached students in a campus building. Public Safety did not confirm which building or buildings the solicitors visited by the time this edition went to print.

“From the information that we have gathered so far, it seems more like this group is targeting people of color,” said Chen said. “But we are not exactly sure if it’s their intention of targeting specific types of people.”

APAC also got an email response from one of their general members regarding the situation.

“On [the scammer’s] clipboard, he had a bunch of donations in the 30s, 40s, up to 60s,” said the general member in response to the original email APAC sent out. “I felt bad at the time that I only gave him 10. Sad I got scammed through.”

Public Safety encourages “all faculty, staff, and students [to] take responsibility and report any criminal activity occurring on campus to the Office of Safety and Security Services,” as stated in the ‘Crime Reporting’ section of Hamline’s Security & Fire Reports. “The Office of Safety and Security Services is the authorized recorder of all criminal activity on campus.”

APAC strives to provide a support group for Asian American students as well as to provide insight into Asian cultures through programs and guest speakers. Although the main focus of this organization is on Asian issues, everyone is welcome to become a member of APAC.