Common Scams Targeted At College Students



There is much publicity made of scams designed to target specific demographics, particularly when it comes to scams aimed at the elderly. However, the elderly are not the only group at risk – college students are quite often the intended victims of fraudsters.

Common Scams Targeted At College Students

In this article, we will take a look at a few of the most common scams used to target college students and college-aged men and women

Fake Scholarships

Don't let anyone scam you

Don’t let anyone scam you

Naturally, an academic scholarship is something which nearly every college student works toward. Thus, the promise of a scholarship is a popular method for scammers targeting college students.

Often they will claim you may be eligible for an extravagant reward, but will require you to submit an application fee. If this is the case, just forget about it. Unless the scholarship is being offered by a name you thoroughly trust, never pay to apply for a scholarship – odds are that it is a scam.

The Fake Roommate

This next scam relies on another common college necessity – finding a roommate.

If you post an ad looking for a roommate, you might get a reply from a person who claims that he or she won’t be arriving for a few more weeks. They will send you a fairly large check and ask you to send them back another check for whatever amount you did not need.

Only after you have sent out the check will you learn that the original was a fake, and now not only do you not have a roommate, but you are out several hundred dollars. The lesson: don’t write out a check to your new ldquo;roommaterdquo; until you have actually met in person.

Splitting a Check

As part of another popular scam, a person who appears to be college-age will be approached by someone on the street claiming to have found a large check. They’re willing to split it with you, but first you will need to fork over some upfront cash.

While this scam sees fairly outlandish, many people have and will continue to fall for it.

Illegal Downloads Suit

With this one, the scammer plays off of the common practice of illegally downloading music. You may receive a notice which claims you are being charged with a crime related to the illegal downloading of music or movies. However, the notification also claims that you have the option of settling by simply mailing in a check.

If you receive a communication like this, research the company by whom it was sent. If you can’t seem to find much of anything, it’s just a scam.

The Fake Grant

This one is very similar to the fake scholarship scam discussed above. In this case, you will receive a check accompanied by a letter informing you that you have been selected for a generous grant. The letter will then instruct you to deposit the check and send a portion of it back.

What you then find out is the check is a fake, and that the returned portion is coming out of your existing savings.

Keep in mind: grants are rarely sent directly to students or parents. Instead they are almost universally sent to the school. Be wary of any unsolicited grant sent directly to you.

While some scams are easier to identify as suspicious, others are much more well-devised. Keep these in mind over the school year, in case any of the scams listed above should happen to come your way.

Guest author Fred Habben works for eConsumerServices, providing fraud protection to people of all ages. Unfortunately, he has become an expert at identifying online scams and other fraudulent activity aimed at college students. He works hard to keep consumers safe – no matter their age.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

Author: SmartStudent

SmartStudent is an educational portal that provides information & advice to aspiring students. regarding applying to university, choosing a course, what to take to university, finding student accommodation and much more.

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