College students should watch out for these financial scams
The Better Business Bureau is warning those returning to campus to do their homework.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As college students get ready to return to campus or set foot in their dorm for the first time, the Better Business Bureau is warning about financial scams to avoid.
“They’re on their own and they’re making their own financial decisions,” said Tiffany Bernhardt Schultz of the Better Business Bureau Wisconsin. “There’s things they need to watch out for too.”
Fake Credit Cards
One of the most popular scams involves fake credit cards.
Many legitimate financial institutions will make offers to students looking to build their credit, but this means fake companies are out there too.
Scammers posing as a bank or credit union are looking to access a student’s social security number or address.
The BBB recommends doing your homework before signing up for a new credit card.
Emails Erasing Student Debt
Another financial scam looks to capitalize on students concerned with looming debt. Scammers may send emails with promises of consolidating student loans or offering grants or scholarships.
“If you’re looking to consolidate your student loans, visit your school’s financial aid office. They can direct you to legitimate choices to do so,” recommends Schultz.
She says if a scholarship or grant sounds too good to be true, it likely is fake.
“It should be a big red flag if somebody is telling you that you’ve won a grant or you’ve qualified for a scholarship and you haven’t applied for it,” Schultz said. “You might just want to ahead and delete that email.”
Getting in the habit of checking your credit report is a good thing for college students to do.
“Once you get involved in identity theft, it’s really hard to get out from underneath it,” said Schultz. “Pulling your credit card or credit report will actually allow you to monitor your credit and make sure that you’re set for the future.”
The BBB says you should look through your credit report, make sure everything is accurate, and check for any unusual activity.
“If it’s not accurate, you want to go ahead and clean that up quickly because the more time that it’s it’s out there, the more time that somebody could possibly be stealing your identity,” she added.
A free and official government website where you can do this is annualcreditreport.com.
Student Housing Scams
Finding housing in a crunch or ahead of the start of the semester can be a stressful time for students.
The BBB warns that there are scammers looking to capitalize on students in need of housing by sharing listings for apartments that don’t exist.
“Scammers do take it advantage of vulnerable college students who are moving across the country or maybe to a new town with no idea of the area or if that place really exists,” said Schultz.
If an apartment is too good to be true, it likely is. This is why experts recommend visiting any location in person before you sign up to live there.
“You want to visit that property before you go ahead and send a down payment in the first month’s rent,” Schultz said. “You don’t want to get there and find out that the place that you rented doesn’t exist, and then you’re really scrambling.”
To view more scams targeting students, click HERE.
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