Freshmen Launch Crowdfunding Site After Phone Scam

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Two Harvard freshmen who said a phone caller threatened and scammed them out of more than $1,500 recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to recuperate their losses. The two students, Belén A. Mella ’19 and Amelia G. Miller ’19, started the fundraising campaign after they said they were the victims of a phone-based scam that led both of them to wire money to Puerto Rico. As of Monday evening, about 100 donors, including some Harvard freshmen, had contributed more than $1,100 to the undergraduates—roughly two-thirds of the $1,670 lost. The scam began Saturday afternoon, when Mella said she received a call from an unknown individual who claimed that someone was holding her mother at gunpoint in Mella’s hometown of Miami, Fla. The caller claimed to be involved in a “car accident” that injured his “nephew,” Mella said.

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