BOISE, Idaho — With colleges starting the school year again soon, it's important to remember that college students can often become easy targets for scammers.
College students are often exposed to new surroundings and different people on campus, and it can be difficult to know who to trust. Better Business Bureau research shows almost 70% of scam victims are under the age of 45, and young adults are now more likely to fall victim to a scam than baby boomers. That means it's important for parents to educate their child or themselves about the most common cons aimed at students to avoid falling victim to the tricks.
Some of the biggest tricks include employment ads that pop up near campus offering jobs with "no experience necessary." The opportunities usually end up being a plot to get your personal information or con you into giving them money. There are also scholarship-finding services that "guarantee" grants or scholarships. They sell lists to students on potential scholarship or grant opportunities, but nearly all available financial aid comes from the federal government or from individual colleges.
Another trick to watch for is a fake roommate. Students post an ad for a roommate on Craigslist, the person who answers the ad just happens to be out of the country but can provide the rent upfront in the form of a money order. When you receive it, the amount is higher than the amount requested. Then they ask you to send money back, which often results in your loss.
Other potential financial hazards students should watch for: credit cards. Credit card offers are all over campus. While it is important to build credit, it's more important to maintain good credit. Many cards have annual fees or charge high interest rates on purchases. Shop around for the best rate and pay off your credit card bills every month.
It's also important to keep your personal information, including your driver's license, student ID, debit cards, credit cards, and bank information in a safe place. 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.