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A Student’s Guide to College Scams

Scams for College Students

Most students head off to college around the same time they are becoming adults. This means they will be making decisions on their own and will be more susceptible to potential scams. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB),  adults 18-24 were 56.6% more likely to fall for a scam with median losses of $150. Here are the most common scams they fall for and how to avoid them.


Most Common Scams to Watch Out For


Scammers will send a check to the student in exchange for a service, like becoming a mystery shopper, assistant, etc. Students are told to deposit the check into their personal bank accounts and purchase gift cards and send money orders. The pin from the gift cards is given to the scammer, or the money is wired elsewhere, and the money disappears. The check may initially clear in the bank, but students will quickly realize they are out a lot of money when the bank figures out the check is bad.

  • Scholarships or Grants

Scammers will create websites to entice incoming college students to apply for a scholarship or grant. Scholarship applications usually ask very personal and financial questions. If a student were to fill out this information on a fake application, scammers would then have the ability to commit identity theft.

Credit card scams are easy ways for people to get the financial and personal information of college students. Scammers often call pretending to be a bank and look to make the student’s account better for them with a lower interest rate. If a student falls for it, they would be giving away information that allows a scammer to commit fraud.

  • Apartments

Scammers will post pictures of nice apartments on websites that interest college students. Often, these come and go quickly, and students may feel they need to jump on the opportunity. The scam comes in when someone tells a student they require a deposit to hold the place before it’s been seen. Once sent money, the scammer will disappear because many times, the site didn’t even exist.

  • Wi-Fi

Hackers will create public networks for people to join to increase their ability to get into a personal device. Since students are always on their computers and phones, it makes them easy targets to access information, including stored passwords to banking information, personal information, and more.

  • Social Media

Scammers will create fake profiles and send links via direct messages. By clicking a link, it could send a virus directly into the device being used. Also, scammers create profiles to get close to people they want to steal information from. Young adults have been seen as trusting, which comes into play as they are more open about personal details than other generations.

  • Employment Opportunities

Scammers will create job postings that sound too good to be true. When students apply, they are usually immediately hired. To earn money, they are asked personal questions as well as financial for direct deposit. Once they receive this information, it is effortless for someone to steal money from the bank account or commit identity theft.


6 Tips to Avoid a Scam

  1. Never give out personal or financial information online.
  2. Learn more about new scams that are happening.
  3. Trust your intuition (If something seems suspicious, it probably is).
  4. Never send money to someone without seeing what you’ll get in person.
  5. Avoid going into bank accounts or other personal accounts on public Wi-Fi.
  6. Never click on links or attachments from unsolicited accounts.