Saint Paul, Minnesota, January 28--The racket by which the families and friends of students in Harvard College and the Graduate Schools are victims of fake hard luck stories and other schemes for obtaining money falsely is by no means limited to residents of New York City and vicinity, according to information gathered here recently. During the past year, especially, residents of middle western cities have been bothered in much the same fashion as those New Yorkers cited in a recent dispatch from Cambridge.
Several specific instances of this modern "cony-catching" are worthy of mention, in order that the further publicity against the scheme may help eradicate it. In the first case, the father of a Freshman was approached by a person claiming to have been the boy's Mathematics instructor. To strengthen his veracity, he commented what a pity it was that the boy was failing in his Math, and that he hoped he would be able to do better work in the future. Furthermore, he discussed several of the boy's friends, and his dormitory room with so many details that it seemed impossible that he could be an imposter. Fortunately, however, the father refused to lend him any money for his trip (he wanted to get to Rochester, Minnesota), and nothing further was heard from the man.
Another instance last year had more unfortunate results. A doctor, whose son was also a Freshman, received a call from a man telling correspondingly accurate stories about the son's college life, and finally asking to cash a check for $25. The doctor, completely taken in, did so, but the check was returned from the bank, marked "no such account." Of course, by that time, the swindler had moved away from the Twin Cities.
At several times during the year past, men have been approached: for the most part, however, the racket has been unsuccessful because of the suspicion aroused. In one day, several parents of Harvard undergraduates were called up on the telephone, apparently by the same worker.