Consumer Handbook: Six Scams Targeting College Students

Aug 21, 2019

Credit Better Business Bureau

With tuition payments, financial aid applications, and school supplies, August marks the month for students looking to spend their money on going back to colleges or universities. Scammers take this opportunity to sway students who are looking for better ways to manage their money. 

Whether you’re starting school yourself or have kids who are vulnerable to such scams, BBB suggests students watch out for these financial scams before heading into the new semester. First, watch out for fake credit card scams. It’s not a secret that deals appearing to be a quick and easy way to spend money are offered to college students to get them to apply for their first credit card. While this could potentially stir up a credit problem, some of the deals could also be a fake gimmick to get access to student’s personal information. 

Watch out for too-good-to-be-true apartments. It’s tempting to hand over credit card information online to lock in a great spot, but it’s always worth seeing the apartment in person, prior to a money transfer. Look out for “safe” credit reports. There are multiple traps online which try to snag your social security number, such as fake credit score scams. Instead, you can safely check your credit score at annualcreditreport.com. 

Be aware of scholarship and grant scams. Phone calls from companies guaranteeing they can help reduce loan payments or set you up with a hefty grant are worth researching. Students should watch out for employment scams. In 2018, these were the #1 culprit for scams attacking 18-25 year olds. 

Finally, use BBB’s ScamTracker to learn of the latest scam trends and read local reports of specific incidents.