Solicitors scam students on campus

Jessie Hellmann

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“Sweet-talking” scam artists have plagued campus and have been conning students out of their money since August.

Assistant Director of Public Safety Stephen Bequette said three incidences have occurred since August in which representatives from Midwest Circulation LLC sell fake magazine subscriptions to students in the apartment areas.

On Oct. 12, sophomore psychology major Audrey Maxwell told public safety officers that she had given a solicitor a check for $60. The solicitors eventually gave the check back after being confronted by the officers.

“They told me that they were business majors practicing their selling pitch with magazine subscriptions,” Maxwell said. “They said they were in a contest and could possibly win a trip if they sold the most subscriptions. They said that if I didn’t want the magazines myself I could donate them to a hospital for sick children.”



She said after giving them the $60 check, she went inside her apartment and felt like she had overlooked something.

“I looked up the company name on the receipt, and the first things that came up were about how it was a huge fraudulent company that teens and young adults worked under so that they could hustle money,” Maxwell said. “They were sweet talkers and definitely knew how to pitch their subscriptions. I immediately ordered a stop check from my bank and called security,” Maxwell said.

The Better Business Bureau has received 159 complaints regarding Midwest Circulation LLC in the past three years, and the company is not BBB accredited.

This isn’t the first time scammers posing as magazine subscription salesmen have came to campus – they have been coming to USI consistently for the past three years.

Two other similar instances have happened this year.

In an incident that occurred Aug. 26, residents at Whitcomb building said a male subject solicited $340 and said the money would contribute to school supplies for children with autism.

The most recent incident occurred on Oct. 1 when an officer was dispatched to the Goodrich building in reference to complaints of solicitors. The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s office was called.

“They prey on naive students that aren’t sure and have big hearts,” Bequette said. “(The solicitors) usually stop once they know we’re on to them.”

Bequette said he’s heard the solicitors are going to apartment complexes that are near USI, such as Golden Towers.

“Twenty and 60 dollars is a lot of money to students,” Bequette said. “We think students are being taken advantage of.”

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