AUGUSTA, Ga.– College students are among some of the most vulnerable targets for scammers.
It’s troubling for parents, because our college kids are often away from home.
So how can you spot some common scams?
Michelle Shaffer. with the Better Business Bureau, has three tips:
NUMBER ONE: companies that offer students forgiveness on student loan debt. “They are businesses that really are going to charge a fee, for a lot of services that are actually free, if you go directly to the government.”
NUMBER TWO– off-campus rentals. If you rent an apartment or a room sight-unseen, it may be offered to multiple people, or may not even exist. “And whenever you see the words “wire funds”, it’s usually a pretty big red flag.”
AND NUMBER THREE– credit cards. There are companies that prey on college students’ inexperience with credit. “Things like extremely high interest rates- make sure you’re working with an entity that has a familiar name. These threats that are out there for students, parents are just as susceptible.”
Charima Young is the Associate State Director-Community Outreach, AARP Georgia.
“All ages are susceptible to being scammed and we want to make sure that we give them the tool so that they need to protect themselves. So we have the AARP Fraud Watch Network- it’s online – it’s actually on the phone, so you can call us if you’ve been scammed, or if you just have questions about being scammed, so it’s a great mechanism for us to be the watchdog for the community. You can see where fraud is happening in your area.”
Fraud never sleeps. It’s global, organized, tech-savvy and relentless. It can happen online, on your cell phone, or in your mailbox. every year more than 16 million of us have our identities stolen by rip-off artists, who make off with an estimated $25-billion.
” Criminals have come up with new and innovative ways through technology to steal our identities.Things like phishing and profliling – when they’re clicking on those apps, what those criminals are doing is profiling and fishing for information.
You’re surfing the internet and get a pop up telling you to call a number because there’s something wrong with your computer..
Norman Pittman says it happened to him and cost him more than $800.
“I don’t know a lot about computers and they wait for that signal and then they can tell you anything they want to tell you and probably charge any price you want.”
(Scammer)/”If I am able to fix it there will not be any costs involved. But just in case we’re not able to fix the problem or if we have to buy a few software and install them then it might include a cost.”
Charima says AARP has learned a lot by talking to the bad guys:
“We don’t read the fine print and also, we don’t ask enough questions. Sometimes if we ask enough questions we can get the right and truthful answers, And, if we tell someone else we know, we’re less likely to become a victim.”
You can reach the AARP Fraud Watch Network by dialing 877-908-3360… or logging on to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.