Magazine scam strikes SDSU campus

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson

Persuasive young men and women will not take no for an answer as they pressure students to subscribe to fraudulent magazines with credible names such as Sports Illustrated and Newsweek. Students are asked to pay up front and sometimes never hear from the seller or the magazine company they supposedly ordered from.

Director of Residential Life Michael Kervin says this is not a new problem. Usually reports of illegal soliciting come in two to three times a semester. These numbers exclude the solicitors that are never reported.

It is difficult for Resident Assistants (RAs) to distinguish a seller from a student since most are within the ages of 18-25. This means it is up to students to report any soliciting they experience at their door or near their hall to an RA right away.

“I call the cops right away,” says Kristen Carlisle, the residential director of Hansen Hall. She has dealt with this problem in the past and feels that it is the college’s responsibility to maintain a safe and welcome atmosphere for students in their halls.

Typically solicitors are matched with the opposite sex to keep the interest between the buyer and seller. Misty Archer, the residential director of Mathews Hall, confronted a solicitor before the University Police Department (UPD) escorted her off the campus. The solicitor would not disclose any information about what company she worked for, only revealing that she was a member of a particular sub-division dropped off somewhere outside the campus area. Many solicitors travel in large groups with a particular quota to meet. Archer also said the solicitor was wearing an SDSU Jacks T-shirt and had a school backpack over one shoulder.

Lieutenant Michael L. Kilber explained that a Brookings city ordinance (ordinance 51, ord. 3-99 & 3-5) clearly states that all unauthorized personnel are prohibited where a sign is properly posted. UPD will typically escort any trespassers from campus and will arrest that person if he/she commits the same offense again. This provides a grace period and makes it easy for the larger groups to send other members to commit the same offense without suffering any major ramifications as opposed to sending the same seller back multiple times.

“As long as there is advertisement, there will be people using it to their advantage,” says Kilber.

Illegal soliciting goes farther then magazines here at SDSU. Whether it is cases of fraudulent credit card companies, false financial representatives or pleasant individuals giving out T-shirts for phone numbers, all are dangerous.

“They claim to be poor college students who have almost met their quota if only you give them that final boost,” said Natalie Krier, a freshman biology major. Krier experienced a solicitor first hand in Brown Hall her first week after moving in. Her neighbor was pressured into subscribing to a Christian-based magazine. Shortly after the purchase, Krier’s friend had second thoughts and requested a refund. The seller refused to return the purchase, claiming he had already turned in the check. The solicitor’s stubborn response was soon overruled when Senior Resident Assistant Amanda Jensen was notified about the situation.

Chief of University Police, Tim Heaton, does not foresee this problem disappearing. He feels that the best solution is to educate students and work with the RAs.