Just as fraudsters have devised scams that especially target seniors, college and graduate students are also especially vulnerable to schemes that fraudsters have specifically designed for them. Here are five to watch out for.
If you receive an unpaid tuition notice, call your school’s financial aid office to verify whether it's true. In most cases, the school will send a bill in the mail before someone ever calls to demand immediate payment. ”
1. Financial aid scams
In this scam, students are contacted by telephone, text message, mail or email with a legitimate-seeming offer of scholarships, grants and financial aid services. The catch? The student needs to provide personal information or pay upfront fees — typically by gift card or wire transfer — in order to proceed.
2. Unpaid tuition scams
A student or parents are informed that a tuition bill is unpaid, and payment needs to be made immediately to avoid impacting the student’s enrollment. If you receive this notice, call your school’s financial aid office to verify whether the information is true. In most cases, the school will send a bill in the mail before someone ever calls to demand immediate payment.
3. Job scams
College students are approached with an opportunity to make quick and easy money with an online job. The so-called business will either ask the students for money upfront or send a check for their work, only to ask them to send a portion back to the company.
4. Online book buying scams
Fraudsters create fake websites with great deals on expensive textbooks. After a student buys a discounted book, it never gets delivered, leaving the victim out of money — and a textbook. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Roommate/rental scams
Potential renters are solicited for money in exchange for promises that the home will be shown or rented to them upon completion of payment. After the payment is made, the prospective tenant realizes there is no rental on the market — or that the property is already occupied.
Tips to help you avoid being victim of a student scam
- Never make payments on a supposed unpaid bill without calling your financial office to confirm
- It's free to complete and submit financial aid forms, including a FASFA form
- Reseach any business before you provide personal or credit card information
- Never give personal information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue
If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, report it to your local police immediately, contact your bank or credit card company, and make a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
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