Five scams college students should watch for


It’s that time of year again when college students plan for the forthcoming academic year. They have enough to think about without being victimized by scammers. So, here are our top tips for keeping your personal and account information safe.

Scholarship and financial aid scams

If you receive a call that your child has received a scholarship, do not provide the caller with the student’s account information ‘to receive funds.’ The scammer is attempting to gain the victim’s personal or financial details.

Tuition payment scams

If your teen receives a call claiming to be a school official warning of a late tuition payment or other money owed, do not provide account details. Even if you are required to pay immediately, or suffer getting dropped from classes, do not make a payment. Scammers can spoof the incoming call to make it appear it is coming from the institution in question.

Student loan/debt relief scams

Scammers lure their victims using false promises to pay down student loan debt and lower monthly payments. Instead, the thieves are diverting payments to their accounts. The scammers will even go as far as to change the borrower’s contact info on US Department of Education websites to limit the victim’s contact with legitimate federal loan providers.

Apartments, books, and moving services that don’t exist

Scammers know college students are searching online for textbooks and accommodation. They know students are looking to save money through a great deal. Students are more likely to pay upfront to receive a discount. The scammer will go above and beyond to offer affordability. Once the payment has cleared, the scammer will disappear, and the student will be without accommodation and their deposit.  

Social media scams

Social media plays a big part in the lives of college students. Criminals prey on this. They will create fake Facebook and Instagram profiles, even websites. They will contact students, ask for an email address, and then send phishing emails to gain personal information or account details.

Always double-check that the person or institution making contact is legitimate and not an imitation. Never post personal information online unless you know your account is private or protected. Don’t click on links in posts, direct messages, or emails unless you know the source or recognize the email. And never make a payment on the phone or give personal information when the source contacts you if you have not initiated the call.

If you have questions about your account or banking online, visit your nearest branch in New Berlin, Springfield, Modesto, or Palmyra.