Augsburg wrestler loses college savings in Instagram 'fraud'
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - As a freshman at Augsburg University, Brooklyn Hays is one of the top-ranked female collegiate wrestlers in the country.
So when someone direct messaged her on Instagram saying they would pay her to use one of the pictures she'd posted for a mural, she thought it was a dream come true.
"I felt really honored. I felt like this was a huge blessing," said Hays.
Hays says she was sent an electronic check but was then told they sent her too much money.
She used Venmo to pay back the difference, but she soon found out the electronic check bounced, wiping out her entire college savings.
"I was just, 'how did I miss it? How did I not realize that this was going to be a scam? That it wasn't legit," said Hays.
Hays says Venmo was unable to get her money back.
What's worse she owed her bank several thousand dollars.
Her parents started a GoFundMe to help replenish the money she lost.
"That money is the money that she uses for her living expenses. So she covers her rent and her food is the main thing that she's covering there and then her transportation and her training," said her father Seth Hays.
But Hays says more than the money that's been donated so far, it has been the messages of support that have lifted her spirits.
She wants others to be careful if they are approached on social media with a similar proposition.
"I would say that wasn't very nice. I don't know why you are doing what you're doing, but it's hurting other people," said Hays.
Several agencies have information about how to avoid becoming a victim of something like this: