Let the buyer beware of unauthorized merchants

Andrew Bennett

On separate occasions, two Saddleback College students were swindled out of money to pay for bogus magazine subscriptions from an independent vendor cruising campus for gullible prey. According to Saddleback Chief of Police Harry Parmer, they are investigating the alleged fraud.

“A crew of three to 10 young people came onto campus, breaking into small teams,” said Parmer. Then the salesperson uses the sympathy pitch asking the student to buy magazine subscriptions to help him or her win a prize for the highest sales.

Last Tuesday, a student purchased subscriptions totaling $60 from one of these vendors. Growing suspicious, the student reported the transaction to campus police. About the same time, Green Peace was reported as being on campus asking students to make donations to their organization said Cindy Zamora, administrative assistant for the office of the president.

“After being asked to leave, they returned later that day assuming no one was watching them,” said Zamora. “Once again, they continued to solicit donations, and were escorted off the premises by campus police.”

For the protection of the students, campus policy states that vendors are not allowed to sell products or services on the premises. Some examples of vendors who have tried to solicit to students include vacation promoters, cell phone contractors, and credit card companies. An exception is during a special event, such as the recent fashion A “Wear”ness Day.

The administration does not want students being taken advantage of and getting into trouble from making a potentially bad financial decision.

Zamora added, “Beware of what you are signing or buying. If you feel unsure, don’t hesitate to contact campus security.” There should be no exchange of money between a student and a vendor.

Because these vendors are often very outgoing and approachable, the ability for them to rip off students is even greater.

“They’re not your friends, they are here to scam your money,” said Parmer. “In 15 years, I’ve never seen anyone get a magazine from these people.”

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, Parmer adds that the scam could be building steam. “At this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see them in neighborhoods going door to door. This is a community concern, not just one of Saddleback College.”

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