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Aug 19

Avoid scams at college

College is a time of freedom and self-development. However, students must be careful or else they may put themselves in situations that could harm their financial future. Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York offers the following tips on the most common scams targeted at students:

college students

These are some of the most common scams to affect college students.

  • Roommate/rental scheme. Beware of roommates who are out of the country but can provide rent through a money order. The amount received will be higher than what was requested. You will be asked to cash it and wire the rest of the money back. This is an overpayment scam.

  • Credit cards. It’s good to build credit, but it’s more important to maintain a good credit score. Look for the best interest rate and be sure to pay on time.

  • Employment. Remember our advice about fake job offers? It still applies here. “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” No job will offer high pay for no experience. Other signs include an interview in a hotel lobby or having to sign a contract on the spot.

  • Scholarships/grants. Scholarship-finding services “guarantee” that they can find you extra scholarships or grants. However, most financial aid comes from the federal government or the school itself. Check out grants.gov for more information.

  • Safeguard your identity. Keep your personal information, including driver’s license, student ID, debit cards, credit cards, and bank information in a safe place. Never carry your Social Security card with you. Avoid online solicitations, emails, social media sites, or phone calls asking for your personal information. Never give out personal information to anyone you don’t know.

  • Online shopping. Many students shop online for the convenience, but if a website wants your payment through a wire transfer or a prepaid credit card instead of a credit card, it’s a red flag. Make sure you have the company’s address and be sure to see that it’s a physical location (not a P.O. box).

  • Trial offers. Read all of the information about a trial offer before saying yes. Many people don’t know the cost associated with the products or subscription after the free trial is over.

  • Be careful with downloads. It can be tempting to download textbooks, music, and other media for free. But we know that sometimes those files may contain malware that will either steal your information or lock you out of your computer. Be wary of any free downloads!

 

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