Common Scams

laptop with scam written on screen

As technology continues to advance and expand, so do scams.  Below are a number of common scams.

Scams Targeting Students

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Common Red Flags

  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

  • Keep an eye out for typos and other errors in correspondence you receive. Most professional organizations have well-written messages.

  • Beware of suspicious links and attachments in email. When in doubt, do not open them.

  • Watch out for offers or messages expressing a sense of urgency - act now!

  • Beware of organizations that ask for money upfront and for payment in cash, by wire transfer, by gift cards, or in cryptocurrencies, etc. They typically do this so you have no easy recourse of action if you do not receive the product or service.

  • Receiving a message that appears to be from someone you know but doesn't seem quite right. Always verify the source using a known communication channel.

General Safety Tips

  • Don’t readily share banking or personal information unless you are sure of the requestor.

  • If you get a call or message involving money, independently contact the entity the requestor is claiming to be (e.g., your school’s financial aid office, the IRS, etc.). Make sure you've gathered that contact information through your own research.

  • Only make purchases through reputable, well-known, websites.

  • Research organizations online and through the Better Business Bureau.

  • When paying for goods or services it’s best to use a credit card. That way you can dispute charges and limit the damage if it turns out you were scammed.

  • Question if someone sends you a check and then asks you to send back money. The check may be fake, and if the check does not clear, you'll be out the money you sent back.

Other Common Scams Defined

A more comprehensive list of common scams and how to avoid them can be found on the FBI's website.