Clark County mom warns of financial aid scam after son receives $4,000 check

A Clark County mom is warning other parents to be alert after she said her college student received a bogus check after applying for a federal work-study program.

Becky Delawder said her son, Timothy Delawder, who is a freshman at Wright State University, began receiving emails and text messages after applying to a federal work-study program.

“He was all excited, this was supposed to be his first job and it turned out to be a scam,” Becky Delawder said.

Timothy Delawder said the e-mails came from a gmail account, but claimed to be from an accounting firm with a job offer to work from home. All he had to do was send his contact information, he said.

“I got a text message saying you will be getting a package in the mail today. It’s your first assignment,” Timothy Delawder said.

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Instead of an assignment, Timothy Delawder said he received a nearly $4,000 check with instructions on where to deposit it. The instructions said to keep $500, and wait for additional directions, he said.

“That’s what confused me. Why would you send me a $4,000 check and tell me to only keep $500?” Timothy Delawder said.

That’s when Becky Delawder quickly stepped in.

“I told him no. You’re not cashing that. You’re going to wait and we’re going to check it out first,” Becky Delawder said.

The worried mother called the bank listed on the check, they told her it was bad. She then called the accounting firm, which is a legitimate business, and they told her they do not participate in the work-study program and did not know who was sending those emails.

“I was there to stop him from doing anything with it. But, I’m afraid there’s going to be other kids who aren’t going to have someone to do that,” Becky Delawder said.

In a statement, Wright State University said they are aware of the scam and said the university is a regular target of email phishing scams, like many large organizations.

“The university’s Chief Information Security Officer and his team are aggressive and vigilant in their attempts to quash these scams and communicate them quickly to all employees and students,” the statement said.

The most difficult phishing scams to defend against are ones that do not contain malicious files or links to malicious websites, but rather, are simple requests for students to make contact by replying to the email with the intent to gain personal information from the student, the statement said, which is what happened in Timothy Delawder’s case.

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“At Wright State, approximately 95% of all phishing emails and malicious software delivered by email are blocked automatically by our system,” the statement said. “Despite our best efforts, yes, some in our community are still victimized and we support them as best we can with the best tools and information to prevent them from being victimized further.”

Becky Delwader said even though she, and the university, don’t know how scammers got her son’s information, she wants to warn other families about potential danger.

“I don’t know how they are getting this information. I don’t know how they are emailing them on their Wright State emails. I don’t know how that’s coming about,” Becky Delwader said. “But kids need to know what to look for, so they don’t lose their money or get in trouble with this.”

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