Scammers Can Send Returning Students to the „School of Hard Knock’s „

 With brand new research released from the BBB Institute showing 18-34 year olds as the top demographic losing money to scammers, college students are often the intended targets of scams. Newly independent students, often tempted by seemingly great offers can be especially susceptible to scams.

„College students are ripe for the picking because they are away from the protective wings of their parents,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. „It’s really a dangerous situation for them because there are many traps they can fall into.”
BBB has some information on the top scams for college students to avoid:
The ABC’s of School Scams: What Parents and Students Must Know

Roommate/Rental scheme – If you post an ad for a roommate on Craigslist, beware of „fake roommates” who are out of the country, but can provide the rent upfront in the form of a money order. When you receive it, the amount is higher than the amount requested (overpayment scam). You are asked to cash it, and wire back the rest. This is a scam!

Credit Cards – Credit card offers are all over campus. While it is important to build credit, it is more important to maintain good credit. Many of these cards have annual fees or charge high interest rates on purchases. Shop around for the best rate and pay off your credit card bills every month.

Employment – Beware of ads that pop up near campus offering jobs with „no experience necessary.” Often, these „opportunities” are bogus! If you are interviewed in a hotel lobby or required to sign a contract, or have to pay for everything including training, travel, lodging, food, etc. associated with the job – forget it! Check out a company first with

Scholarship/Grants – Scholarship-finding services „guarantee” grants or scholarships. They sell lists to students on potential scholarship or grant opportunities. However, nearly all available financial aid comes from the federal government or from individual colleges. Go to for more information.

Safeguard your ID – 70% of people are clueless on protecting identity. Keep your personal information, including your driver’s license, student ID, debit cards, credit cards, and bank information in a SAFE place. Be wary of any online solicitations, emails, social media sites, or phone calls asking for your personal information. NEVER give out personal information to someone you don’t know.

Locksmith Scams – College students are prone to locking themselves out of their homes or cars. If this happens to you, you probably will use your cell phone or local yellow pages to find a nearby locksmith. Problem is, some disreputable locksmiths will post bogus addresses in their ads to make them appear local, when they’re not. Check out the company first, and make sure you are not over-charged for services. (BBB recommends researching first and keeping the local, reputable locksmith’s contact information in your purse or wallet)

Online Shopping Deals – You see a much-wanted item for a steep discount online. The catch? The site asks you to wire payment to them instead of using a credit card – a huge red flag. Once the money is sent, the item is never received. Also make sure you have the company’s address, and double check it to make sure the address exists (and isn’t a rented drop box).

Trial Offers – From fitness club memberships to magazine subscriptions to acne medicine, diet pills, or free DVDs and CDs, know how much these products and services are going to cost you once the „Free Trial Offer” expires.
Illegal Downloads – It may be tempting to save money by downloading free music, movies, or textbooks, but many contain spyware that can end up causing financial havoc.

There are also parents who are still in the process of getting their students ready to return to school. The National Retail Federation estimates parents will spend an average, $673 for clothing, accessories, school supplies, computers and other electronics for their children this year. BBB has tips to help balance your school shopping budget.

Back to school shoppers and all consumers can search the BBB database of accredited businesses at no charge at „Ask BBB” . A full database of all businesses and ratings can also be found on the main webpage at For more consumer tips, visit, and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or add us on Pinterest.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.