On Your Side: Warning for college students - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

On Your Side: Warning for college students

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A warning from the Better Business Bureau for students headed to college: don't fall for scammers hoping to lure you with sweet promises, just to get your cash and personal information.

 

It is a lot, because scam operators troll for victims everywhere from fake student loan offers, to fake jobs, scholarships and apartment ads. But, protecting yourself is easy, if you get familiar with the BBB's tips and warning.

 

First, protect your personal information. Now that you're 18, you're responsible for your own debt unless your parents co-sign. 

Your I.D. social security number, birth date and pin numbers are the most valuable information you will ever have. Don't give it away or share it with people on social media says Better Business Bureau Chief Tom Gallagher.

"Don't give anybody that information. Don't give it to your friends. Don't give it to your girl friend. Don't give it to your boyfriend. Just keep it to yourself," said Gallagher.

Watch out for scammers imitating legitimate government agencies using terms like "national", "foundation" or "administration" that guarantee scholarships, grants and loans. They want money upfront.

"I've never seen an advance fee company work out to the consumer's benefit. On the advance fee loans they take that money and then they evaporate. They've got your money and there's nothing you can do about it," he said.

Online job scams are prevalent too especially those that require job applicants to pay a fee.

"These things are bad. They are scams. Every single one I've ever seen is poison," Gallagher explained. 

Gallagher talks about an apartment scam that recently claimed young victims. Know the company you're leasing from before you give money.

"They would sign up for a lease on a property. They'd come to move in and low and behold the apartment they signed up for wasn't available," he said. "Talk to some of the counselors in the enrollment office. They know a lot of things and they know where there are problems."

It's also smart to check your credit and debit card statements frequently.

Make sure your computer software is up to date. Many public Wi-Fi systems are susceptible to hackers ... and don't use a public workstation to pay bills or shop online.

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved

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