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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college, emergency scam, ,   

    College parents targeted by this scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Parents of college students are being targeted in a new scam, but it’s actually an old scam with new targets. It’s more infamously known as the grandparent scam. As you may know, that scam targets the elderly, with scammers trying to convince their victims that one of their grandchildren is in trouble. Often the scammers will claim to be the grandchild. It’s all done to try to squeeze money out of the victims disguised as bail money or some other legal fee. Meanwhile, the grandchild is safe and unaware they’re being used in a scam.

    As you can surmise by the headline, some scammers have decided to target a new demographic, but it’s still the same old scam. Now referred to as the emergency scam, scammers are calling college parents and telling them their child has been arrested. The scammers then ask for bail money that needs to be paid through apps like Venmo or Zelle. With a student possibly being states away from their parents, this could put the parents into a panicked state where they’re not thinking clearly. This is what the scammers are hoping for, so parents don’t have time to logically think about the situation.

    So, how do scammers know which parents to target? Social media, of course. The scammers look for college students on social media, and from there it’s usually not hard to find the student’s parents.

    It also doesn’t help that scammers are now using AI-generated voice cloning technology to imitate the voices of students. If a student is active on social media and have posted videos of themselves, it’s not difficult for the scammers to get a sample of their voice to use in their schemes.

    However, if you’re aware of the scam, it’s easy to beat. Even if it sounds like your own child is telling you they’re in jail, be suspicious. Instead, attempt to contact them directly, either using another phone or text message. You can also call the police department where they’re supposedly being held. And keep in mind that bail is never paid through payment apps, gift cards, cryptocurrencies, or money transfers. Setting up a code word with your child that’s only to be used in the case of an emergency will also go a long way in protecting your family from this scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college, , ,   

    Scam targets families of college students 

    Scam targets families of college students

    By Greg Collier

    One of every parent’s worst fears is getting the late night phone call and hearing a police officer on the other side. Rarely, does that bring good news. Now imagine the call is coming from out of state where your child attends college. Of course, you want to do anything you can to help your child, but what can you do being so far away? That’s when the helpful police officer offers a solution that can be done online. Except, the solution is no solution at all. In fact, it’s an even bigger problem.

    That’s what’s currently happening to the parents of some college students across the country. Scammers are calling the parents of college students while impersonating campus police. Parents will see the phone number appear as their child’s college or university in their caller ID. The parents are then told the caller is with campus police and their child is in some kind of legal trouble. For example, a report from the University of Iowa said the scammers claimed the student had gotten into a fight and was currently being detained.

    As with most scams, the scammers will try to emotionally manipulate a payment out of their victim. The scammers will threaten to take the student to jail if payment isn’t made. Typically, scammers will ask for a payment that can be done over the phone. Another report from Texas A&M University states that scammers there were asking for payment over the mobile payment app Venmo. This is done because once a payment goes through on apps like this, it’s gone forever.

    Meanwhile, this is all going on while the student is completely unaware they’re being used as the bait in a scam.

    If this scam sounds familiar, it should. The scam borrows heavily from both the grandparent scam and the virtual kidnapping scam, with some police impersonation thrown in.

    If you receive a phone call like that about any family member or loved one, ask the callers for their information, such as name and badge number. Even if they give you the names of actual officers, don’t believe them until you verify their information. Hang up the call or use another device to contact the person who was supposedly arrested. You’ll more than likely find that person has not been arrested. Lastly, never send any money. Real law enforcement agencies will never ask for money over the phone.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , college, , , ,   

    College students still vulnerable to job scams 

    College students still vulnerable to job scams

    By Greg Collier

    College students and other young adults tend to be more technologically inclined than previous generations. Unfortunately, being more comfortable with modern tech can lead young people into a false sense of security. When it comes to finding a job, many of the analog ways of older generations are still in effect. Scammers will take advantage of the convenience of tech while using the anonymity it can sometimes afford them. This chicanery has become very prevalent in the job market. With many young people striking out on their own for possibly the first time, they could easily fall victim to job scammers.

    This recently happened to a college student in Texas. She was searching for a job online and more than likely had posted her resume on employment platforms. She received a text message that claimed to be from a textile company in Chicago, offering her a job. The position was a remote data entry position that offered close to $40/hr along with benefits and a 401K. All interviews and follow-ups were done through text or messaging app. The student never saw the face of anyone at the supposed company.

    She was hired almost on the spot. She was then told she would need equipment for the position. The student was then sent two checks that added up to $10,000. The company instructed her to deposit the checks and use the money to buy the equipment she needed. She was told to use specific vendors and that she could pay them through Venmo or Cash App. When payment wouldn’t go through on either of those apps, she was told to wire the money. The checks turned out to be fraudulent, which not only wiped out her savings but left her in debt to her bank.

    Those that are inexperienced in the job market may not be aware that businesses do not use apps like Zelle and Venmo to pay for business expenses. Even those who have years of job experience may not know that legitimate businesses, even those offering remote positions, do not send checks that the employee is supposed to deposit in their own bank account to use for business expenses. The fake check scam is one that has been duping job applicants for years now.

    If colleges and universities are not doing do already, scam awareness should be part of the orientation process. If you know a young person who is attending college, you may want to let them know about the scams that specifically target them, like this one.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , college, , ,   

    Job and check scam targets college students 

    Job and check scam targets college students

    By Greg Collier

    College students have it hard enough today without having to worry about scammers. Unfortunately, that’s what makes them prime targets for scammers. With the ever-increasing cost of tuition, college students often take on part-time jobs along with their full class schedule. Juggling both isn’t an easy feat, and that’s if a student can find a job that allows them the flexibility to attend their classes. With that amount of activity on their plates, it’s no wonder scammers are targeting students.

    One college student from Iowa found this out the hard way to the tune of $3000. The student received an email that appeared to come from his university. It even came from an email address used by his school. The email offered him a job for $450 a week running errands for an off-campus employer. The student said he knew other students who had similar positions, so he didn’t think it was a scam.

    The student was sent a $3000 check and was told to deposit the check into his bank account. He was told to keep $450 for himself and send the remainder of the check to charities. If you’re a regular reader, you know exactly what happened next.

    After the student sent out the money, the student’s bank discovered the check was fraudulent. The charities were more than likely other scammers waiting for their cut. Even though the student was a victim of a scam, he still owes his bank the full amount of the phony check. There aren’t too many college students who can just produce $3000 out of thin air. Having a delinquent bank account like this can also affect his future credit and other banking opportunities.

    While we might like to think our nation’s universities and colleges have their email accounts on lockdown, they don’t. Even email addresses that end in .edu can be hijacked by scammers. They’re just as vulnerable as personal and business email accounts if they have a weak password or were compromised in a data leak.

    Also, no legitimate employer is ever going to ask you to deposit a check used for business expenses into your own account. If they do, the check is fake, and they’re a scammer.

    If you’re a college student, and you receive an email like this, call the proper university department to verify if the job offer if legitimate or not. If you know a college student or have one in your family, you might want to pass this story on to them. Let’s try to make their lives a little easier.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , college, , , , ,   

    Job scam hits college student hard 

    By Greg Collier

    When we think of scam victims, we tend to think of the elderly. However, a very close second to the elderly are college-aged adults. While the former has a wealth of life experience, they may not be savvy with modern tech. Meanwhile, the latter typically tend to have little life experience to draw on to help protect hem from scams. It may even be that since they were raised with the technology, that could make them even more susceptible to scams.

    For example, a college student from Florida was looking to supplement his income while taking classes. He received an email from someone who was using an email address issued by his college. If you’re not a student or faculty member of said school, then it is almost impossible to get access to one of the school’s email addresses.

    The job was said to pay $500 a week and would have the student helping out foster homes and orphanages in the area. The employer sent the student a check for $4500. The student was instructed to print out the check before making a mobile deposit of the check. He was told to keep $500 for himself, while sending the rest of the money to other employees of the company through PayPal and Zelle.

    It wasn’t too long before the student’s bank contacted him to let him know the check was a fake. The student texted his supposed boss, who sent him another check and told him to deposit that one too. That check was recognized by the bank as also being fake and denied the deposit. The bank even informed the student that he would be responsible for the overages in his account.

    If you know someone in your family who is about to head off to college or has just started college, please let them know about this scam. Let them know that no legitimate employer will ever ask them to use their own bank account for business purposes. Even in today’s marketplace with non-traditional employers, they will never ask you to deposit anything in your bank account to pay someone else. If they do, they’re not a legitimate employer.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , college, , , , pet sitting, , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Pet sitting, Bitcoin, and Magazines 

    By Greg Collier

    Today, we’re bringing you another trio of scams that warrant your attention. This week, we have three scams that variants of other scams we’ve discussed.

    If you’re in college, or have a child in college, the Better Business Bureau is warning about a particular job scam. It appears that in both Florida and New York, college students are being offered part -time pet-sitting jobs for a pretty good wage. However, this is just a ruse to send the college student a fake check as payment. The students will be told to deposit the check, purchase some supplies, and return a portion of the check. While the bank will honor the deposit at first, they will eventually determine it’s fake and put the financial burden on the student since they were the one that deposited the check.


    In Northern Ohio, authorities there are reporting victims there are falling for a Bitcoin scam, but it’s more like the police impersonation scam. The scammers are posing as federal investigators who tell the victims that someone in Texas near the Mexican border has rented a car in the victim’s name and a large cache of illegal drugs were found in the car. In order to avoid arrest, the victim is told to pay a substantial amount of money. Previously, the scammers would have victims mail cash or buy gift cards. In this case, the scammers are instructing victims to make payments through Bitcoin ATMs, which we’ve previously discussed here. No law enforcement agency is ever going to threaten you with arrest if you don’t make a payment in cryptocurrency or other untraceable means of payment like gift cards.


    Lastly, in Rhode Island, an alert FedEx clerk saved a man from falling for a scam that could have cost the victim thousands of dollars. When the clerk asked about the man’s shipment, the man claimed it had $500 worth of old magazines in it. The clerk was suspicious and was worried that the man was being scammed. With a manager’s approval, the clerk opened the package and there was $15,000 worth of cash inside. While the news report doesn’t say what kind of scam the man had almost fallen for, the man said that he was promised a bigger payout if he mailed the cash. This sounds an awful lot like an advanced fee scam or sweepstakes scam where that victim was told to send cash intertwined in the pages of magazines. Remember, that you don’t have to pay any fees for a prize like that. Taxes for such prizes are usually figured out later.


    Hopefully, these scams don’t come to your area, but now you’ll be prepared if they do.

  • 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, , , , , 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.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPJsIXFZV7I%5D

    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.

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