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Article updated: 3/21/2014 9:31 PM

2 arrested in ‘free school scholarship money’ scam

By Steve Zalusky

Waukegan police announced that on Tuesday two men were arrested on charges of stealing the debit cards and PIN numbers in exchange for "free school scholarship money."

Police said officers received information from an individual who was contacted via social media about an opportunity to receive thousands of dollars in free school scholarship money in exchange for a Chase Debit card and PIN number.

Police said bond was set at $25,000 each for Tyler Taylor, 19, of the 2200 block of Ezra, Zion, and Ayale Banks, 18, of the 13100 block of Yorkshire in Beach Park. Both are expected to appear in court on Monday.

With the cooperation of the individual, police said, a meeting was arranged.

The individual met with a person, later identified as Taylor, who identified himself as an employee of the scholarship program. After the card was turned over to Taylor, he was taken into custody by undercover officers.

After being identified as a lookout in the scam, Banks was taken into custody by officer.

Both Taylor and Banks later admitted to collecting cards from approximately 15 people in Waukegan, Gurnee, Lindenhurst, Round Lake Beach and Zion. They said they have worked together, with others, and on their own, for the past few months.

Both men were charged with attempted deceptive practices for the Waukegan incident and deceptive practices for prior incidents in other jurisdictions.

There have been numerous reports about this scam from Chicago and throughout Lake County. Fake social media sites can be the origin of many scams.

The scam artists would deposit fraudulent checks into the customer's account -- after having the victim's card and PIN -- and then withdraw the money, just hours later.

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