With the first day of school just around the corner, it seems like scammers ended summer break early as they’ve already gotten a head start on targeting college students with a number of back to school scams.
To help prevent you ambitious students with any additional stress this school year, here’s a list of the most common scams that are targeting students this 2018 school year:
Federal Grant Phone Scam
The government grant scam lures studnets in with a few questions that may qualify them for a grant. The questions may seem innocent up until they throw the victim a curve ball requesting that they give them financial information so they’re able to deposit the so-called grant into their checking account.
Student Loan Scam
Student loans are inevitable, so finding a victim is pretty easy for scammers. Preying off their vulnerability, scammers are able to dupe victims into handing over their private and financial information with promises of debt relief.
Student Tax Scam
Just when they least expect it, students may receive a “call” that has slapped them with an additional “federal student tax” related to either their student loan, taxes, or even an overdue parking ticket. If payment isn’t wired immediately, they’ll be reported to the police.
Roommate & Rental Scams
Craigslist has been a source for finding roommates for quite some time now, and scammers are taking advantage of the mass amounts of students who rely on the service to find the ideal living situation. The most obvious red flag for scams like these is a conveniently located apartment at a very low rate. For those who unfortunately fall for this, they can become victims of fake background check services, credit report sites stealing personal information, or additional unnecessary fees to the landlord.
Social Media & Phone Survey Scams
A majority of survey scams start with a social media post or phone call promising an unbelievable prize from a raffle or survey you may (or may not) have entered. As one racks their brain wondering what they may have unknowingly entered, one can’t help but feel that what they’re offering is too good to be true. If one gets that gut feeling, it probably is. These scams are out to steal personal information, or requests for payment before you can receive your prize.
Here’s how you can protect yourself:
- Stay up to date on the latest scams that are trending. Keeping yourself informed will make you less of a target and more prepared when scammers call.
- If you receive an unexpected call requesting you share personal or financial information, or that you need to make payments immediately, hang-up. Verify that the call is legitimate by calling the official number of the institution they claim to be from.
- If you’ve been victimized or have received a call similar to any of the scams above, please report the scam to the FCC to help raise awareness and prevent your peers from becoming the next victim.