This year’s college graduating class is getting ready to start their new lives. It’s a big transition that includes several important changes. Graduates may move to a new city, find a new place to live, or look for a new job. Graduation also often means new financial responsibilities, such as the start of student loan payments.
University graduates go through many changes in their lives and scammers are eager to take advantage of their inexperience. The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help graduates avoid common scams.
Know the terms of your student loans
One of the most common ways scammers use to target college graduates is to offer fake loan cancellation opportunities. You may receive an unsolicited email, phone call, or text message indicating that you may qualify for reduced payments through a debt forgiveness program. To use the company’s services, you just need to fill out a form and pay a fee. Some of these companies are real, but they offer their services with false claims and incomplete information. Other companies are fake, only hoping to get their hands on your personal information and money.
Scammers may also contact college graduates regarding the suspension of student loan repayments in response to COVID-19. View the latest US loan repayment information. Scammers may claim that to take advantage of the program you have to fill out a form or pay a fee. In reality, you may not need to do this, so check your facts before giving your information to anyone.
Beware of Unsolicited Unpaid Tuition Messages
Some scammers contact graduates or their parents claiming that part of their tuition has not been paid. If not paid immediately, the graduate’s degree will be revoked. Scammers may ask you to send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
Whether you are contacted by phone, email or text message, beware of anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Government agencies, as well as most higher education institutions, will first contact you by mail. If you’re not sure if a message is legitimate, do some research to verify the person’s claims. Ask to contact them later. Then, investigate by looking up information on the official website or calling your school’s superintendent’s office. Don’t give in to the pressure to make a decision right away.
Do research before accepting jobs or job interviews
Scam artists can offer new graduates easy, high-paying entry-level jobs. Scammers are adept at attracting fresh graduates by promoting unrealistic salaries for commonly labeled positions, such as “virtual assistant” or “customer service representative”. They may ask for your personal information, including your bank account and social security number, claiming that they need it to set up direct deposit or file taxes. In other cases, the scammers ask you to pay for the training. In yet another version, you may be “accidentally” overpaid with a fake check and asked to return the extra funds.
If you’re considering a job at a company you don’t know, do your research before you fill out an application or accept an interview. Make sure the company has legitimate contact information and that the position is posted on their website. Scammers often steal the names of real companies for their fake job postings.
Beware of rental scams
Finding a beautiful apartment in a trendy neighborhood at an affordable price? There is a good change that it is a scam. According to a survey by Apartment List, 43% of people looking for a rental online encountered a fake ad.
In many cases, scammers simply copy a property’s photo and description. Then they post it online with their own details and try to get a down payment and the victim’s first month’s rent.
If you’re looking to rent a house or apartment, research the cost of other rental properties in the area before signing a lease. Scammers often lure victims by promising low rents, extra amenities, and a great location. If the price seems much better than offered elsewhere, it may be a scam. Also be sure to view the apartment or house in person. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to confirm that it is what was advertised. Finally, read the rental agreement documents before signing. Don’t be shy to consult friends or family members who might be more knowledgeable on the subject if you have any doubts or questions.