Avoid These Scams Aimed at College Students

A shot of two college students studying on campus

Most high school around our area are now back in session; colleges will soon follow.  If you are an incoming freshman or a returning college student, be aware that according to a new study conducted by BBB® millennials are more likely to be scammed than baby boomers.  Your BBB would like to point out just a few of the scams that may be targeting college students.

Roommate/Rental scheme – If you post an ad for a roommate online, beware of potential roommates who indicate they are out of the country, but can provide the rent upfront in the form of a money order or check.  Typically, that check or money order, when received, will be for an amount higher than the rental payment. At that time, you are asked to cash it, and wire the overage back.  Eventually the check will bounce and you will be out the money you wired and any fees owed to the bank.

Employment – Watch out for ads that pop up near campus offering jobs with “no experience necessary.” Interviews in a hotel lobby, requirements to sign a contract or having to pay for everything, including training, travel, lodging, food, etc. associated with the job, are all red flags that may indicate that the offer is not genuine.

Scholarships/Grants – Scholarship finding services may “guarantee” grants or scholarships. Often, they will sell lists of potential scholarship or grant opportunities to students; however, most financial aid that is available comes from the federal government or from individual colleges.  You can view their information for free by visiting grants.gov or the college’s website.

Trial Offers – From fitness club memberships to magazine subscriptions to diet pills or free DVDs & CDs, read the fine print.  If it is a “free trial offer,” make sure it is actually free. Know how much these products and services are going to cost you once the “Free Trial Offer” expires or how to cancel before you must pay for the product or service.

Illegal Downloads – It may be tempting to save money by downloading free music, movies or textbooks, but many contain spyware that could end costing more money than the products themselves.

Cheating Supplies – While you may be able to locate term papers and test questions and answers online, colleges and universities across the US are increasingly using new software, fake websites and other means to track down dishonest students.  Don’t cheat yourself out of learning!

BBB would also like to remind you to safeguard your identity both on and off campus. Don’t keep your personal information in your car or in plain sight in your dorm room.  Keep them in a safe place, preferably under lock and key.  In addition, be wary of any online solicitations, emails, social media sites, or phone calls asking for your personal information. Never give out personal information to someone you don’t know.

BBB wishes you the best of luck with your college career!

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville.

About Amanda 202 Articles
Amanda is the Director of Investigations & Information Services and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.

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