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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college, , , ,   

    College students targeted in tax scam 

    College students targeted in tax scam

    By Greg Collier

    With it being tax season, tax scams are on the rise. We’re not talking about the kind of tax scam where federal agents show up at your door because you claimed the squirrels in your yard as dependents. We’re talking about the kind where is either trying to separate you from your refund, or using the promise of a refund to steal your information. The latest targets in this kind of tax scam are college students.

    The IRS is warning people that anyone with an email address ending in .edu is vulnerable to this scam. The scam is essentially a phishing attack. The student receives an email that appears to be from the IRS asking the recipient to click on a link that’s labeled either “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” If the victim clicks on the link they’re taken to a website that asks for personal information like name, date of birth and Social Security number.

    Theoretically, college students are a prime target for identity thieves. At that age they may have established any serious credit yet which is the holy grail for identity thieves. Identity thieves could use a young victim’s credit for years before the victim ever realizes it.

    There’s been this stereotype that’s been going around forever that young people are better with technology than their parents. While that may be true, they may also be unsure of how filing their income taxes and receiving a refund works. So, they might think that this phishing email is a legitimate way of claiming their income tax refund. We realize that our readers tend to be from a different demographic than college students, but we also realize that you may have a college student in your family. If you do, you may want to warn them about this potential scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , college, ,   

    Job scams affect college students too 

    Job scams affect college students too

    When we think of scams, we often think of the elderly being the targets of scammers. However, college-age people are just as susceptible to scams as older generations. Some reports say it’s due to their lack of experience in dealing with such scams while others say it’s because their generation is more trusting. Either way, they have become very lucrative for various types of scammers.

    For example, a young college student who lives in Arizona was recently taken for over $3000 in a job scam. The student attends college at a Midwestern University but is currently home for the summer and was looking for a job. She received a job offer from someone that appeared to be a faculty member at her university. The email address was even said to have the .edu identifier in it.

    The job they offered her is a familiar one when it comes to scams. They would send her a check, she would deposit it in her own bank account, then buy supplies from a designated supplier. She was then instructed to keep $400 of the check as her payment.

    It was after she made all the payments that the check she was sent turned out to be a fraudulent check. She was then responsible to her bank for the entire amount of the $3,550 check. As it turned out, her university’s email had been compromised and scammers were using it to lure several students into the scam.

    The fake check scam is at the heart of several different scams from job scams to purchase scams. No legitimate employer will ever ask you to donate a check into your personal bank account outside of your pay. If one does, it’s almost certain to be a scam. A scam that could very well leave you worse off than you might have already been.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: back to school, , college, , , locksmith scam, , scholarship scam,   

    It’s the season for Back to School scams 

    It's the season for Back to School scams

    With September approaching and some schools having already started their school year it should come as no surprise that scammers will even use the back to school season to try to target potential victims. The largest targets among these victims will more than likely be college students. Considering that many of these students will be away from home for the first time, they may not have the real-world experience to recognize a scam. Hopefully, with this blog post they can be better educated on which scams to look out for that could potentially harm their college experience.

    The Better Business Bureau of Florida recently put out a list of the most common scams for students to look out for and we can’t help but recognize a few of them. For example, the BBB warns of phony job scams. In these scams, the perpetrator will use a phony email address that spoofs that of the university. The student will be promised a phony job where they will be sent a check that will be more than they were promised. Of course, the check is phony but by the time the student sends back the money their bank will charge them the full amount of the bogus check. Another common scam that targets college students is the phony scholarship scam. Phony companies will guarantee students grants or scholarships in exchange for a fee. Most scholarships and grants can only come from the government or the school so avoid these promises at all costs.

    While the above scams are largely illegal there are some legal scams to look out for as well. Many credit card companies will offer their cards to incoming students, however, many of them have either high annual fees or interest rates. It’s very easy to obtain one of these cards then find yourself in a world of debt that you weren’t prepared for. Then there’s the locksmith scam where a student may lock themselves out of their housing or car and they’ll call the first locksmith that comes up in a web search. Those locksmiths may not be local and may charge you an exorbitant fee. It’s better to research for a local locksmith before you lose your keys so you can have a reputable one readily available should the need arise.

    For a more comprehensive list from the BBB about these scams and others you can click this link.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college, ,   

    Immigration scam targeting college students 

    Immigration scam targeting college students

    As we’re sure you’re well aware of, immigration has been a hot button topic in this country for a few years now. It’s such a divisive topic that the subject has stopped the US government from fully functioning. Even though most ‘illegal’ immigration comes from people overstaying their visas instead of our southern border hasn’t stopped our government officials from fighting over a wall that would accomplish little to nothing. In today’s politically charged environment just imagine how those here on foreign visas must feel. Well, leave it to the scammers of the world to take advantage of just such a situation.

    A phone scam is targeting foreign college students who are here on study visas. The caller purports to be from either the US Government or the embassy of the victim’s home country. The students are told that they are in danger of being deported. Being thousands of miles away from your family coupled with a potential language barrier could cause victim’s of this scam to panic and give in to whatever the scammers are demanding. As usual, the scammers are either looking for personal information or money. In one instance a student at Carnegie Mellon University was instructed to transfer close to $30,000 to a foreign bank account as ‘collateral’ for her to stay in the US. While the latest round of this scam is targeting college students, foreign citizens here on work visas aren’t immune from this scam either.

    If you or someone you know is a student visiting this country and may have been a target of this scam please let them know this is not how matters like this are handled in the US even in today’s political climate. It’s extremely rare for any government agency to contact someone by phone let alone demanding money. With today’s politics of fear, it’s understandable how successful this scam could be, however, you shouldn’t have to live in fear while visiting here. If you receive one of these calls contact your school’s administration and they should be more than happy to assist you.

  • Geebo 9:36 am on August 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college,   

    Beware of these scams targeting college students 

    Beware of these scams targeting college students

    Back when I was in college, the only scam you really had to look out for was predatory lenders offering ‘great deals’ on credit cards. Being young at the time I did, in fact, fall for that particular scam and it ended up being a black mark on my credit report for years. Today, with so many avenues scammers have to approach college students, they have to be even more vigilant in watching out for multiple scams.

    If you have a child who’s currently getting ready to attend college you probably know about how much pressure they can feel about securing student loans or grants in order to try to secure funding for their education. As is their usual M.O., scammers always love to prey on those who are in stressful situations, especially when it comes to financial ones. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that scammers are targeting students of one Michigan college where the scammers will pose as the college financial office threatening that their classes will be dropped if they don’t pay an additional fee and that the fee must be paid over the phone then and there. Of course, the college does not accept payment over the phone.

    Other common scams appear as offers that will either reduce your student loan or claim to offer some kind of financial assistance. In many of these cases that can appear as text messages or emails, will either try to get the student’s financial information or will try to get the student to pay some kind of upfront fee. Sometimes the fee requested will be in some form of a gift card which should be a dead giveaway that it’s a scam.

    In today’s controversial world of colleges and financing, our students have enough on their plate without having to worry about scammers trying to take their money. While they may be smart, students at that age can still be impressionable. If there’s an incoming college student on your family or circle of friends, please let them know about these scams so they don’t have to keep paying for their mistake for years to come.

  • Geebo 10:18 am on March 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college, , MIjem   

    College marketplace app: Good in theory, bad in practice 

    College marketplace app: Good in theory, bad in practice

    Earlier, I came across this article from The News Record, the University of Cincinnati’s student run newspaper, about a marketplace app called Mijem that’s geared toward college students. On the surface, it sounds like a great concept by making a local marketplace between students who could potentially help each other out by selling or trading things like furniture, clothes and the always expensive textbooks. However, the reality of the app appears to be more concept than practice.

    First, I tried signing up for the app through the Google Play Store and the app kept crashing on me. I was able to sign up through their website but was then unable to sign in through the app itself. In looking at the app’s reviews on the Play Store there were a number of suspicious 5 star reviews that either did not elaborate or had one sentence reviews. Mijem also claims that their app is safer than other platforms, but I was unable to determine how that could possibly be. While they do have users create profiles, that alone does not make it safer than any other platform. Other marketplace apps have user profiles and are still plagued by safety issues.

    Lastly, the MIjem developers talk about a safety feature that should have been implemented before launch. In The News Record article, the developers claim they’re working on verifying .edu email addresses so users can have a verified check mark on their profile. This should have been a feature at launch and to make the app more secure only .edu email addresses should be accepted. While this doesn’t guarantee safety, it would go a long way in discouraging bad actors.

    However, since the app is extremely buggy and somewhat sketchy with its Play Store reviews, I would recommend college students to take a hard pass on MIjem.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on August 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college, , financial aid,   

    College students need an education about these scams 

    College students need an education about these scams

    The beginning of the school year for most college students is fast approaching. With that comes a number of concerns not just for returning students, but especially for those heading to college for the first time. As with any life changing moment, there are unfortunately a great number of scammers looking to take students for a financial ride.

    A number of these scams are variations on scams we’ve touched on before. For example, if a student is looking for an off campus place to live and a prospective landlord asks for money in advance without letting them see the property, then it’s obviously a scam. Along the same lines, if a student has placed an online ad looking for a roommate and receives a check for an amount larger than they requested, the check is obviously fake and cashing it could overdraw your own bank account. Other scams are targeted directly at students, like an offer for financial assistance or employment, where money is asked for up front for things like processing fees or background checks. As with most scams, if something doesn’t feel right, or feels too good to be true, it’s better to walk away from it than taking a chance with your finances.

    There are also some things that may not be scams that still look to take advantage of students such as credit card offers. While the offer for a credit card may be legitimate, the card may carry a high interest rate. Another great tip for students is to keep their identification and bank cards secure at all times as dorm rooms can be high traffic areas for identity thieves.

    Hopefully this knowledge will go a long way in helping college students have a less stressful school year.

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