Students are vulnerable to scam artists who target young people in order to separate them from their money.
If you’re currently studying, or even just planning your education, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourself from con artists and other people who are looking to prey on your youth and innocence.
Here are seven steps you can follow to avoid being scammed as a student.
1) Know Who You’re Dealing With
You can’t always trust the person on the other end of the phone or email.
Be sure you know who you’re talking with and what they’re selling before giving out any personal information, even if it’s just your name.
You can also tell when someone is trustworthy just by looking at their photo.
A good rule of thumb is if they don’t look like they have much money, they probably don’t.
The more expensive clothes and accessories someone has in their picture, the more likely they are trying to scam you.
It’s best not to buy anything from people that are trying too hard to sell something.
If they keep calling you, stop answering their calls. They’ll eventually give up and move on to somebody else.
You should also be careful when sharing photos on social media because many scammers use this opportunity to find victims.
Don’t ever open attachments or click links sent to you by people you don’t know; instead, call them back using a number found elsewhere so you know exactly who you’re talking with.
2) Do Your Research
One way to avoid being scammed is by doing your research. When you’re looking at sites, read the reviews and see what other people are saying about the company.
If they are reputable, they will have plenty of good reviews. If they don’t, then you should steer clear of them.
Another way to avoid scams is by not giving out personal information when you sign up for something online.
You may be tempted to give credit card numbers or other important info but never do so without first confirming that it’s safe with someone you trust.
The easiest way to confirm this is through Google search- just type in the website’s name along with scam or reviews and see if anything pops up that confirms their legitimacy.
3) Be Wary of Unsolicited Offers
Be wary of unsolicited offers. Often, scams will offer you something for free or at a discounted price that is too good to be true.
If the offer seems suspicious, it probably is.
Furthermore, before signing any document, read it carefully and ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand.
Don’t forget to always use your intuition; if you’re feeling uneasy about a situation, go with your gut instinct and don’t take the risk.
Also, when sharing personal information on social media sites, be sure not to share information like birthdays, where you work/went to school, where you live (or grew up), etc.
With anyone unless you know them personally because scammers often steal personal info from social media sites.
4) Read the Fine Print
One of the most common ways that people are scammed is by not reading the fine print. If you’re signing up for something or purchasing something, make sure that you read all of the information.
The best way to avoid being scammed is by being educated and aware.
Read everything carefully before signing anything or paying any money.
You should also tell your parents about any purchases you plan on making so they can help protect you. Here are some good rules to follow:
✓ ) Don’t buy anything online unless you already have an account with the store.
✓ ) Never send money via Western Union, Moneygram or other wire transfer services unless you know who will receive it and it’s someone in your family.
✓ ) Be suspicious if anyone offers to send you a large sum of cash in exchange for sending them more cash back.
5) Don’t Pay Upfront for Services
One of the most common scams that students fall victim to is paying upfront for services or goods.
If you do decide to pay for an item, make sure that the transaction is done in person and with cash.
Never pay money over the phone or through e-mail. Always meet sellers at their physical location.
Don’t give out your personal information like banking information and Social Security number unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Always read terms and conditions carefully before agreeing to them.
Lastly, if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Before making any decisions, ask yourself:
Do I know enough about this company? Do I feel pressured into buying anything?
Is this worth my hard-earned money? What are the risks involved? If a scammer gets access to your credit card account, they can use it to buy expensive items.
Not only does this hurt your credit score but you also might end up being liable for the charges.
If someone steals your identity and starts running up bills on your credit card account, there is little chance of recovering what they stole from you.
6) Use Secure Payment Methods
When you’re making purchases on the internet, make sure that you’re using methods of payment that are secure.
This will help protect your personal information and keep you from falling victim to scams.
Be skeptical when looking at websites that ask for credit card numbers or other sensitive personal information before they’ll sell you anything.
Ask yourself if the site is really who it says it is. If it’s not, then chances are you’re being scammed and you should immediately stop any transactions.
Keep an eye out for emails with attachments that may be phishing emails – these usually contain links to sites where you can download malware onto your computer without knowing.
To avoid this, don’t click on unknown links in emails from people or companies.
Look up their website by name instead of clicking the link in the email – there’s a chance that it might lead to some kind of malicious software waiting for you!
7) Get Everything in Writing
-The most important thing you can do is get everything in writing. It’s not enough just to shake hands and say, I’ll send you the money.
You need to put it in writing and have it signed by both parties. If someone won’t sign your paperwork, then don’t do business with them.
-Never buy anything before getting a written estimate.
Ask lots of questions about what the person is selling, how long they’ve been in business, and their references.
Get referrals from friends or family members who are satisfied customers. And remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!