With only a few weeks left of high school, Ana Jaramillo is trying her best to stay focused and finish strong.
The Dallas student was accepted into the University of Texas at Arlington for the Fall 2019 school year. Problem is, she's not sure how she's going to pay for it.
Jaramillo said she applied for federal student aid or FAFSA online and last week, she received an email from someone who appeared to be from UTA's student employment office offering her a job.
"I thought maybe this could help me out with the money," she said.
Jaramillo said she received a follow up email from her soon-to-be boss who asked her to provide her name, address, phone number and a bank name.
She said the next day, she got a check in the mail for $2,870 and was asked to deposit that into her bank account and wait for further instruction.
"I thought about it and I thought, someone who doesn't know me wouldn't trust me with all this money," she said. "I got paranoid, because I thought if this is a fraud, I'm going to get affected and maybe that's going to affect me school-wise and in my future."
The fake check scam has been around for years, but this version hits a new low.
Here's how it usually works.
Scammers convince you to deposit a check into your bank account and then instruct you to send a portion of the money to them.
A few days later, the check bounces, the money you sent is gone and you're on the hook for the bad check.
Fortunately, Jaramillo didn't send any money and only owed the bank a $15 fee for the bad check.
But she said other students may not be as lucky.
"There is people out there who are selfish and want to do the bad, especially for a lot of teenagers since we're not grown. We don't know what's life out there," she said.
UTA told me it's sorry to learn that one of its future students experienced this and will continue to look into the matter.
UTA also said, "these types of scams are a problem nationwide. Unfortunately, UTA is not immune. The university uses a number of tools and resources to remind our community to be vigilant against scams and to reduce your chances of becoming victim to one."
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