A University of Illinois student from China received a very unwarm welcome to the U.S. when a taxi driver conned the unwitting 18-year-old out of $4,240. The student arrived at O'Hare Airport on the evening of Aug. 20 and stepped outside the airport around 6 p.m. to look for a bus to take to Champaign, Ill., according to the News-Gazette.
A driver approached the student and lied that there would not be any bus service until after midnight, and that he could take him to his destination for $1,000. Once the two arrived, the driver demanded $4,800 instead. The student said he did not have that much cash, but still forked over a total of $4,240 – all of his money.
It is not uncommon for international students to bring a large sum of cash when starting university in the U.S. Julie Misa, director of the International Student and Scholar Services program at University of Illinois, told the News-Gazette that her department suggests international students bring around $2,000 in cash to cover starting costs. The frazzled young student was so overwhelmed that he even left his cell phone inside the vehicle.
Later, the student tried to contact Chicago police via e-mail. His information was eventually relayed to the University of Illinois police. Officers from the University of Illinois are now working with Chicago police to solve the case. The only description they have of the scammer is that he is a white male of undetermined age, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a medium build and lighter short hair.