(CBS St. Louis) – Scammers are preying on college students across the country and if you think your son or daughter is too smart to fall for these tricks, think again. Here are just a few of scams you should discuss with your college student.
The Tuition Scam: A scammer contacts a college student or his or her parents saying that a tuition payment is late and there will be severe consequences, such as being dropped from classes, if the payment is not made immediately over the phone. If this happens to you, hang up and call the school office yourself to get to the bottom of it.
Advance Fees: Someone offers to complete something that ultimately students can do on their own, for a high price. For example, the scammer wants to fill out your FAFSA forms, help you apply for a job or scholarship, or give you a loan – but all of these services come with a steep fee. Be wary of these kinds of “deals.” The Federal Trade Commissions says the following are warning signs when it comes to financial aid and scholarship scams:
- “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.”
- “You can’t get this information anywhere else.”
- “I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship.”
- “We’ll do all the work. You just pay a processing fee.”
- “The scholarship will cost some money.”
- “You’ve been selected” by a “national foundation” to receive a scholarship — or “you’re a finalist” in a contest you never entered.
Online Books: If your student finds an online textbook deals that are too good to be true, they probably aren’t. It’s easy for a scammer to set up a website that takes your money but never ships any textbooks. Double check online book sellers through the Better Business Bureau before making any purchases.
Nonexistent Apartments: Just like online books, it’s easy for crooks to set up apartment rental listings online with fake pictures of places that don’t exist. Before you ending up renting a nonexistent apartment, make sure that there’s an in-person visit to the residence before any deposits are made.