Back-to-School season is in full swing, and fraudsters are ramping up their efforts with college students as their main target.
Back-to-School season is in full swing, and fraudsters are ramping up their efforts with college students as their main target. Learn how to recognize scams and keep yourself safe from online fraud.
Fraudsters are using financial aid, housing, jobs and school supplies to take advantage of new and returning college students. Some common scams include requesting upfront payments for scholarships and loans, posting fake employment opportunities, posing as college students looking for a roommate, and selling—but never delivering—highly discounted textbooks, dorm room supplies and more.
What You Should Do
These tips can help you recognize and avoid common back-to-school scams:
- Do your homework. Whether it’s a financial aid or employment opportunity, do your research and make sure the company you are looking to work for (or the organization that is offering the scholarship or loan) is real. Visit the Better Business Bureau’s website and search for the company’s name, or visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website for tips on avoiding scams.
- Get all the deets on potential roommates. Always ask for the name, phone number and address of the person you are communicating with and do some digging before agreeing to meet in person (bring a friend with you!) to see the room, pick-up the contract and drop off your deposit. Avoid wiring money or bringing large amounts of cash to your apartment or room showing.
- Make sure online retailers are the real deal. Shop around and think twice before entering your credit card information on websites claiming to sell highly discounted textbooks, dorm room lofts and other school supplies. Double-check that the website starts with https (indicating it is a secure connection) and read online reviews and blog posts to see what others have to say about the online retailer before making a decision.
How Verve Can Help
It’s Verve’s goal—in line with our guiding 7 Cooperative Principles—to provide education, training and information to help our members stay financially fit. Verve is committed to keeping our members educated when it comes to their finances by providing details on recent scams and ways to stay safe. Help keep your family and friends safe by sharing this information on back-to-school scams.