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HOW TO AVOID GETTING SCAMMED AS A STUDENT
We are all targets and we are all vulnerable
Criminals across the country and around the globe – small thieves and devious hackers are targeting the student communities and are working round the clock to steal your money and your personal information. The bad news is there’s nothing you can do to absolutely guarantee you won’t get scammed, but the good news is there are many things you can do to reduce the risk.
Just last week, I got a text from an unknown number requesting my Bank Verification Number to update my account information, but something about the message and the circumstances seemed suspicious, so I delayed acting on the message. On getting to the bank the next day, I realized in fact that the bank had sent no such message and used no such number. I discovered much later that many of my friends had received the same message from the sender.
Research shows that at least one in ten students has been the victim of a scam. Expert says that if one knows what to look for, it might be easier to detect and avoid scams and of course, there is no doubt about the fact that one of the best ways to spot a scam is to know the forms they take.
- Scams are designed to be enticing as possible. Be cautious of job descriptions that include ‘no experience needed’. A salary far above your credentials should also get you suspicious.
- Money laundering is one of the most commonplace scams advertised towards students, with as many as nineteen percents of approached students agreeing to the position. This has become quite a phenomenon on campus now. It usually involves the opportunity to earn extra money in exchange for personal bank details. Money launderers will normally charge students with receiving a sum into their bank account, to be sent to an overseas account minus a small fee for the account owner to keep as payment.
- Another means is by misleading student through the social media, for instance, to reveal usernames and passwords to sensitive information and this can take place under many guises.
- Multi-level marketing (which uses the referral system) have existed and thrived for several years and although this form of investment is entirely legal (as opposed to a pyramid and Ponzi schemes); it has been heavily criticized by universities administrations, former participants, and certain other bodies.
- Sometimes, you might see a much-wanted item for a steep discount online. Then you might be asked to wire payment instead of using the credit card. Once the money is sent, the item is usually never received.
It is instructive to conclude by saying that personal information, including your driver’s license, student identity card, debit cards, credit cards and bank information should be kept in a safe place. Be wary of any online solicitations, emails, social media sites or phone calls asking for your personal details.