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PfoHo Resident Foils Scam

By Christopher C. Pappas, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

Earlier this week two strangers approached a Pforzheimer House resident in what Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) officials say may have been a "flim-flam" scam.

According to an advisory sent to House affiliates, an unidentified man and woman in a car drove up beside the Pforzheimer resident--who has asked to remain anonymous. The two offered the student cash in return for accompanying them to a local bank to authenticate a large sum of found money.

The student did not cooperate with the couple and reported the incident to House officials and HUPD.

According to HUPD Lt. John F. Rooney, flim-flam scams have become widespread in recent years and can fool even the most cautious people.

In a flim-flam scam, scam artists typically approach their victim with a large sum of money they claim to have found.

In return for a portion of a prospective reward, they ask their victim to help them deposit the sum in a bank--and then demand some form of collateral to "safeguard" the deposit.

Rooney said the reasons why people would fall for the scam vary.

"People will do it out of human goodness or out of greed, thinking maybe they will get some of the money," he said.

Pforzheimer House Administrator Sharon R. Holt sent an e-mail message yesterday to House residents detailing the specifics of the alleged scam as recounted by the student.

Holt urged students to be aware of such fraudulent requests and to immediately report any suspicious individuals to HUPD.

"This is an old, tired scam, but many people have fallen for it because of the promise of easy money," Holt said in the message. A-3

many people have fallen for it because "Ourstudent was smart enough to tell them (s)he wasn'tinterested. (S)he then contacted the HarvardPolice," Holt wrote.

HUPD was notified of the incident, although thestudent never filed an official report.

"The victim did not want to come forward, andno incident report was ever filed," said HUPDspokesperson Peggy McNamara.

McNamara said HUPD has not received reports ofany other similar activity on campus this year.However, "flim-flam" scam artists havesuccessfully targeted Harvard students in pastyears, she said.

Rooney also urged students to be on full alert,and to contact HUPD if approached.

"Get a description of the people, get adescription of the car, get the license platenumber and call the police right away," Rooneysaid.

"Never, ever go anywhere with these people, andnever give them anything," he said

many people have fallen for it because "Ourstudent was smart enough to tell them (s)he wasn'tinterested. (S)he then contacted the HarvardPolice," Holt wrote.

HUPD was notified of the incident, although thestudent never filed an official report.

"The victim did not want to come forward, andno incident report was ever filed," said HUPDspokesperson Peggy McNamara.

McNamara said HUPD has not received reports ofany other similar activity on campus this year.However, "flim-flam" scam artists havesuccessfully targeted Harvard students in pastyears, she said.

Rooney also urged students to be on full alert,and to contact HUPD if approached.

"Get a description of the people, get adescription of the car, get the license platenumber and call the police right away," Rooneysaid.

"Never, ever go anywhere with these people, andnever give them anything," he said

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