Each fall, college students set out to spend money on building a new college life, while scammers take this opportunity to try and steal some of that money through schemes and scams.
According to the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) most recent scam tracker risk report, 41.6 percent of students reported a loss when they were exposed to a scam as compared to 28.3 percent of non-students.
The BBB suggests students watch out for the following financial scams.
• Fake credit cards – It’s no secret that offers to apply for your first credit card are tempting to many students. Not only could this create credit problems for students down the road due to unchecked spending, some of the deals could be phony offers designed to get access to your personal information. Do the research on those credit card flyers and e-mails before applying.
• Too good to be true apartments – It’s tempting to hand over credit card information to lock in a convenient apartment so close to campus, especially if it advertises affordable rent. However, it’s always worth seeing the apartment in person prior to a money transfer.
• Safe credit reports – At the age of 18, it’s a good idea to start practicing healthy money habits. One such habit is regularly checking your credit report for unusual activity and possible ID fraud. The official government Web site where one can safely check their credit report for free can be found at annualcreditreport.com.
• Scholarship and grant scams – Be wary of phone calls from companies guaranteeing they can help reduce loan payments or set students up with a hefty grant. Searching the company’s name online could bring up scam alerts or negative reviews from other consumers. You can look up any company at BBB.org and contact their school’s financial aid office for advice and help regarding financing your education. Scholarship scams can affect college students even after graduation.
• Employment scams – In 2018, employment scams were the number one culprit for scams attacking 18-25 year olds. Job offerings can be sent directly to school e-mails, promising flexible hours and a beyond expected pay. Don’t send your Social Security number electronically without knowing exactly to whom you are sending it.