BBB warns about common scams targeting Texas college students

The Better Business Bureau is warning of common scams targeting college students in Texas as students are preparing and budgeting for the upcoming semester.

According to the National Retail Federation, households with a college student can expect to spend an average of $1,200 on back-to-school shopping for the 2021 school year.

According to BBB’s 2020 Scam Tracker Risk Report, adults ages 18-24 reported the highest median losses ($150) to scams, many of which take place online. College and university students in Texas have reported over $109,000 lost to scams this year, with the top three most-reported scams being online purchasing scams, employment scams and phishing scams, says the BBB.

BBB recommends watching out for these financial scams before heading into the new semester:

  • Fake credit cards: The BBB recommends researching offers from credit card flyers as well as banking institutions before applying.
  • Fraudulent apartment listings: If the apartment requires a credit card or banking information to "reserve" or "lock-in" the unit, BBB strongly recommends seeing the apartment in person before transferring any money. These tips also apply to online ads for those who are seeking roommates or taking over a lease.
  • Scholarship and grant scams: Be wary of phone calls from companies that "guarantee" you will receive a scholarship or grant money if you use their services. Research the company and contact the school’s financial aid office for advice on financing your education.
  • Online purchasing scams: BBB recommends purchasing items online with a credit card whenever possible due to the additional protections they offer to remove charges for services or goods that are never rendered or received.

For more information about how to avoid identity theft on campus, click here. The BBB is also asking scam victims to report it to the BBB's Scam Tracker.
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