Scams target college students heading back to campus

WASHINGTON — College students will be heading back to campus soon, and the Better Business Bureau has a warning for them: Crooks are targeting them.

College can be a new world filled with new adventures but also filled with new risks.


“Dangerous in a sense that yes, identities can be stolen,” Better Business Bureau Spokesperson Melanie McGovern explained. “It takes a lot of time to repair that.”

That’s why the BBB is warning college students and their parents that scammers can see them as easy targets. That can cost you your personal information and your money.

“You want to make sure that you’re protecting your identity, your credit, or else it’s a lot of headaches down the road,” McGovern said.

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When many teens head to college, they get their first credit cards. Scammers know this, so they create fake cards. When you apply, you’re giving them all your sensitive information.

If you sign up for a real account -- make sure you’re careful with the documentation that goes along with it.

“If you have any kind of statement or mail, have it sent to the parents’ house, not the college dorm,” McGovern advised. “People still take stuff out of the garbage and the mailbox.”

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A lot of kids going to college now grew up with the Internet. Scams are targeting them there, too.

“It’s the dream to be able to just post on social media and get paid for it,” McGovern said. “What’s happening is people are being solicited on social media platforms through the private message system saying ‘hey, we want you to be an influencer for our product,’ but a lot of times the big red flag is they’re being asked to pay upfront. Most influencers don’t pay for the products that are sent to them. The company is paying them.”

The BBB advises students to check their credit score at least once a year. That’s a good habit to continue even after graduation.

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