Scam artists disguised as students have been on the prowl at the University of Calgary, charging girls for spa treatments at a new spa in Calgary then pocketing the money.
First-year U of C English student Anyssa McKee said she was scammed a week before reading break when she was having coffee.
She was sitting with a friend in the basement of the MacEwan Student Centre when a girl approached them and said she was a marketing student. She claimed that she had teamed up with a new spa in the city, Club Ronaldo, for an assignment to offer students a special deal in which the proceeds would go to breast cancer research.
“My friend had actually seen the spa before. They put together this package, it was $60 for four spa treatments and all the money went straight to breast cancer research,” said McKee.
When they called to book their appointments, employees of the spa told them that the girl who had charged them was not affiliated with their organization.
“You could tell he was quite used to answering phone calls from other U of C students because he knew exactly what to say,” said McKee.
McKee then called the police.
“When I called the police, they were saying tons of people were reporting the exact same thing as me,” said McKee. “So a lot of girls are out 60 bucks.”
McKee said the girl who approached gave the name ‘Amanda’ and was not alone.
“She came to the table alone but I saw her other friend canvas the other side, so they sort of split up, dividing and conquering,” said McKee, describing ‘Amanda’ as olive skinned, with long, dark brown hair.
‘Amanda’ was well prepared, according to McKee. She had vouchers for the spa, a map to the spa’s location and a portable bank transaction machine. Upon checking her bank statement, McKee said the $60 went through to an unknown location.
“They said that they were selling very well and it was very popular. The girl that actually took my money had her own machine with her that she said the spa had lent her,” said McKee. “She was really, really smooth.”
McKee is unaware of the exact number of people who were scammed, however, she said a few of her friends had also been victimized.
“I know three more people that said this also happened to them,” she said. “In the short time that she spent with us, it looked like they probably did at least four or five sales.”
McKee has not seen the girls on campus since.
“If someone comes up to you, even if it sounds like a great offer, don’t do it,” said McKee. “I would say ask for credentials, ask for proof, ask to speak to the spa, ask all those questions.”
Steven Griffin, an employee of Club Ronaldo, would not disclose any information other than the situation is part of an ongoing police investigation.