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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Scam alert: Watch out for for these college-related scams

College students and their families are spending money on tuition and school supplies as they prepare for the new year. However, scammers know this and are trying to steal some of that money through various schemes.

One tactic that has been used to get students’ personal information is a phishing email that claims to be from the school’s “Financial Department.” Messages via text or email may appear, instructing the student to click on a link provided in the email and log in with a student username and password. But don’t do it! Doing so could give your username, password, or other personal information to scammers, while also possibly downloading malware onto the device.

Whether you are starting school away from home or have young students who may be vulnerable to such scams, the Better Business Bureau recommends watching out for these financial scams before heading into the new semester.

• Fake credit cards — Offers to apply for the first credit card are tempting to many students. Not only could this create credit problems down the road due to unchecked spending, but some of the deals could be phony offers designed to get access to personal information. Research the offers from the credit card flyers and the banking institutions before applying.
• Too good to be true apartments — It’s hard not to jump on a convenient apartment so close to campus, especially if it advertises affordable rent. 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. This also applies to Craigslist and social media ads appearing to be from other students looking for roommates. Read more about rental scams.
• ID theft — It’s a good idea to start practicing healthy money habits and one such habit is regularly checking your credit report for unusual activity and possible ID fraud. The official government website to do this for free is annualcreditreport.com.
• Scholarship and grant scams — Be wary of phone calls from companies guaranteeing they can help reduce loan payments or offer a hefty grant. Searching the company’s name online could bring up scam alerts or negative reviews from other consumers. Contact the school’s financial aid office for advice and help regarding financing your education.

Share your scam story
Local law enforcement is concerned about the impact of scams on area residents, particularly the elderly.

Consequently, this newspaper works with local police and sheriff’s departments to keep residents updated on common schemes. Scam Alerts will appear in future editions as often as possible in the coming weeks.

Readers can also find online scam updates at windomnews.com.

If you have been the target of a scam, your first contact should be local authorities. Also, feel free to contact us with details (we can keep your name confidential).
Send your story to: rahnl@windomnews.com, or call 507-831-3455. By sharing, you could prevent someone from being scammed.

Watch www.windomnews.com for regular weekday updates at 8 a.m./noon/5 p.m., plus BREAKING stories at other times. Follow CoCoCitizen @CitPub on Twitter.

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