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Common scams targeting college students

BBB warns of pyramid scheme that promises easy money via 'Blessing Loom'
Posted at 5:04 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 06:42:06-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- College Students fork out a lot of cash on housing, school supplies and tuition. This makes them the perfect target for scammers.

Even if your child isn't on campus due to COVID-19, scammers know where to find them.

"A lot of people, especially young kids, they think they're invincible and that they're too smart to fall for a scam," said Susan Bach, the NE Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin. "That's really just not true."

There are a lot of scams targeting college students.

"We find that younger people are more often losing money to scams than their older counterparts," said Bach.

According to the BBB, if you are a student and are contacted by a scammer, 42% of the time you're likely to lose money. This is compared to only 28% of the time for non-students.

College students need to be wary of emails that come into their university email inbox.

"College students should keep in mind that just because it came to their college email address doesn't mean that it was sanctioned by the university or that it was approved," said Bach.

Here are some things to look out for.

  • Phony scholarship and grant offers

The promise of free money can be all too tempting. Avoid offers with "upfront fees" that will never materialize into those much-needed funds.

  • Fake rental listings

A lot of university dorms are closing or enforcing quarantines due to the pandemic. People are heading home and some students are even being allowed to opt out of housing contracts.

Scammers are copying pictures and descriptions of legitimate for sale listings and turning it into a rental listing.

"If the landlord can't give you a chance to see the place before you put down a deposit or sign a contract that's a huge red flag that you could be in the middle of a rental scam," said Bach.

  • Employment scams

College students don't have a lot of time but they need money. Beware of too good to be true offers.

"Check out the company," said Bach. "Make sure that they have a website and that you google the company to see that there are other people talking about it."

Always contact your local BBB if you think something could be a scam.

For the BBB's full list of scams targeting college students, click here.