Scammers have been around for decades, but college age adults are the most targeted group according to the Better Business Bureau.
The stats speak for themselves, Jeremy Johnson with the Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific said 69% of adults losing money to scammers are under the age of 45 and within that group adults 18-25 are the most frequent victims.
“They don’t lose as much money as the older generation because they simply don’t have as much funds as the older generation, but they are actually targeted more,” Johnson said.
Some of the scams out there are employment scams where too-good-to-be-true jobs offer great flexibility and a work from home environment. They start by sending the new employee a “signing bonus” and then request the newly hired employees send them some money back because they over-paid them. By the time the money is sent back, the bank realizes the check is fraudulent and the new employee is out the money they sent back to the fake employer and they are never heard from again.
“So many students are coming back to school and they need to supplement their incomes,” Johnson said. “They see these great opportunities that are too good to be true.”
Another type of scam comes in the form of simple and large sum scholarships.
“So many of them seem easy and legitimate, and sadly that’s where students are being lured in,” Johnson said.
These scams are similar to the employment scams, but the checks are for larger sums and they request higher sums to be returned. They also are a way to get personal information to create other fraudulent accounts in the future.
“Most of your financial aid and scholarship opportunities will come through your school or university,” Johnson said.
Roommate scams are also a threat. Scammers pose as potential roommates on Facebook groups or on Craigslist. They will even offer to send you a check for the deposit and then ask you to send them some back. Once you send the money back, the bank realizes the check is fraudulent and you are on the line for the amount you sent to the potential roommate.
The Better Business Bureau recommends that when you are unsure about sending money or purchasing online, to use a credit card. Johnson said it is easier and faster for banks to recuperate funds to a credit account than a debit account.
Johnson also warned students and young adults to take care of their personal information and to be careful about where you share it. Keep social security cards and bank information locked away in your residence.