The driver told the teenager it was too late for a bus to his Champaign campus. He told the student, who apparently had a limited command of English, that it would cost $1,000 for the 241-km journey, 'New York Daily News' reported.
However, on arriving at the destination, the driver reportedly demanded $4,800 as the fare. "The student said he didn't have that much so he gave him all he had," University of Illinois police Seargent Tom Geis told The News-Gazette. The student paid the driver around $4,420. Geis said the teen was so overwhelmed that he left his cellphone in the scammer's vehicle.
It is unclear why the student had so much money with him and why he decided to trust the driver. "It's hard to know why this would have happened," said Julie Misa, director of the University's International Student and Scholar Services programme.