Suspected magazine swindle on campus defrauds students

University Police received a call March 14 reporting a suspected magazine sales scam. The complainant says he was approached in the RUC by two subjects-calling themselves “John” and “Kelly”-who persuaded him to spend $100 on magazine subscriptions.

“They told him they were selling them for a fundraiser to pay for scholarships,” said Officer Tony Nelson in his report. “The numbers and e-mail address given by the suspects were false.”

Campus Police Chief Gay Shepherd said this isn’t the first complaint she’s received this semester. Earlier reports of a so-called magazine scam described the same two suspects.

“They’re hard to catch because people don’t report it until these guys are long gone,” Shepherd said, “but we’re still looking.”

“John” and “Kelly” gave the March 14 complainant something resembling a receipt from a company called U..S. Circulation Corp. Travel. The company’s website, www.uscctravel.com/, claims to offer a “Freedom Scholarship” of $500-$10,000 to students who work for them as traveling salespeople.

The Georgia-based company’s website also claims that a percentage of proceeds go to charity.

“At USCC Travel we are a socialy (sic) responsible copmany (sic),” the site said,” and a portion of every sale is donated to various organizations, such as cancer research, diabetic research, children’s athletics, children’s hospitals, Red Cross/Haiti relief, and more!”

Shepherd doesn’t think “John” and “Kelly” are affiliated with Tech or even from the Cookeville area.

“Usually the kids that are doing this are getting scammed themselves,” she said.

A user entry on RipoffReport.com describes a similar scenario. A man said he agreed to purchase a year-long subscription for $51 after a young lady came to his door and introduced herself as Brittney Midgette. The girl told him cash would be preferable and that she was raising “points” for a scholarship.

“I have called the customer service number they provide,” said Walt, of Miami, Fla., “and it always goes to voicemail, and most of the time it is full.”

He never received any magazines.

Shepherd noted that soliciting on state property is illegal.

“If you see somebody soliciting, contact the University Police.”

For official campus crime updates, visit www.tntech.edu/police/police-crimelogs