Crime Prevention—Fraud

To: Faculty, Staff, and Students
From: Marlon C. Lynch, Associate Vice President for Safety and Security and Chief of Police
Date: June 6, 2009

I want to inform you of fraudulent activity that has victimized members of the University community recently. At this time of year many members of the community advertise on-line to sub-let their apartments for the summer months. Recently, someone claiming to be from another country has responded to internet ads indicating they are coming to Chicago and are interested in sub-leasing. After reaching an agreement the individual says they will send a check from their company to the advertiser with instructions to take the check to the bank and deposit it in their account. They are instructed to keep a portion of the check for rent—typically $1,000–$1,500—and then withdraw the remaining amount and send it back to the supposed renter via Western Union or Money Gram. A few days later the check is returned as a non-negotiable item, and the victim is out a large sum of money.

There is no reason a legitimate individual will overpay a deposit, trusting an unknown person to deposit the check and return funds to them via wire. Please be aware and do not fall for this scam. If you are contacted by someone trying to gain your confidence in this manner, please report it to the University of Chicago Police 773-702-8181, or the Chicago Police by calling the non-emergency 311 number.

As always, I welcome your thoughts about security in our neighborhoods. Questions or comments may be directed to