It’s that time of year where students are heading back to school and planning out their finances to pay for the semester. Textbooks, dorm rooms, tuition, groceries, and school supplies are just some of the things that students need to budget for. Most of the time, they rely on resources such as financial aid and scholarships to help get them through the semester and wait until it is dispersed into their bank accounts. However, scammers know how desperate students can be to get their hands on their money, and will come up with college scams to try and get their hands on their money.
Types of College Scams
Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams
There are a few different scenarios of how these scams could work. One scenario involves a robocall claiming that you’ve won a scholarship for a few thousand dollars. You think that it’s legit and give them your personal information so that you can receive this scholarship. Once you give them your personal information, they also ask for your bank account information so that they can “deposit the money into your bank.” However, what they really want to do is commit identity fraud using your information and steal your money.
Another scenario involves phishing emails that advertise fake financial aid websites to students. These websites contain forms that students are tricked into filling out their personal and financial information in order to supposedly receive the aid. The last scenario contains a fake financial aid representative that charges $1,000 to fill out your financial aid forms for you, even though you can do this for free.
Scammers post job listings with high pay rates that attract college students into applying. Once a student applies, they are contacted by a scammer who asks for their personal information to “verify that the student is real.” They also ask for their financial information so they can “deposit the money into the student’s account.” Once the student gives them their information, the scammer commits identity theft with their information and drains their bank account.
Fake Website Scams
Students get phishing emails with links that direct them to scam websites. While these websites look legit, they are actually run by scammers so that they can steal your money and information. Basically, scammers will disguise these websites as online stores that sell textbooks, apartment units, or moving services into your dorm. However, once you give them your information they will steal your identities and money.
Imposter Call Scams
A scammer scam calls the student and pretends to be a student loan counselor, a university official, or a scholarship representative and claims that they need your information for something. A student then gives them their information, and the so-called “representative” comes up with an excuse as to why they need your financial information. Once you give them both your personal and financial information, the scammer then commits identity fraud and drains your bank account.
Student Debt Relief Scams
A company contacts the student via email or phone call and claims that they can relieve students of their debt. However, in order to do this, the student has to provide their information via an Internet form or over the phone. Once the student provides their personal and financial information to the scammers, the scammer then steals their identity and money, blocking the student in the process.
Public Wi-Fi Scams
Scammers hack into public Wi-Fi networks and have access to everyone’s devices that are connected. They then hack into student’s devices and look for personal or financial information that they can use to commit identity theft or steal their money. They can also download malware secretly on someone’s device that will steal information without the students knowing.
How to Avoid College Scams
- Don’t give your personal or financial information to people you don’t know.
- Don’t access your personal online accounts or download any personal information when using public Wi-Fi.
- Don’t click on random links without knowing that the email is legit.
- Do your research on a company before ordering from them.
- Only believe the financial aid you are receiving from FASFA or a well-known researched company.
- Don’t answer calls you don’t know if you can help it.
- Verify the company is real and has good reviews before accepting the job.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You with College Scams!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of college scams.