Students can avoid falling for these commons scams and their variations by taking a few deliberate steps:
Imagine that a student receives a call from someone claiming to be a representative of their college, who explains that the financial office hasn’t received the student’s tuition payment. This person knows the student’s full name, age, specific school within the university, and the department in which they’re working towards their major. The person says that the student will be dropped from their classes unless they provide payment information immediately, over the phone.
This is just one example of how scammers may target students who are learning how to manage their money and other new responsibilities. Since many students aren’t accustomed to thinking of themselves as targets for any type of scam, criminal actors often see an opportunity to exploit them by using “social engineering” methods, which combine publicly available information and psychological manipulation to coerce people into providing money, information or both.
Scammers may use the phone, online or print ads, or social media to reach out to students with attractive deals on goods or services, or to make fake demands for payment. Sometimes many people will receive the same phony offer. But as people post more details of their personal lives online, increasingly criminals are able to focus on specific individuals.
Students can protect themselves from scams by staying vigilant about what they share about themselves and people they know online. Here are a few scams to keep watch for, and ways to avoid falling for them.
Scammers are always on the lookout for new opportunities to steal your personal and financial information. The following scams are commonly reported, and criminals are continuously creating new variations:
In most of these scams, criminals are counting on people to act quickly, before they’ve thought through all the details of the offer or request.
As students transition from life on campuses to the professional sphere, these skills will remain critical to safeguarding their identities, finances, family and employers. By staying alert and up-to-date with how scammers operate, they can help protect the people and organizations that matter most to them — and help others do the same.
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