1-The infamous T-Shirt
The first week of college is an exciting time. Students are away from home and they are exploring their independence. Imagine that when strolling the campus, there is a booth where people are giving away appealing T-Shirts. When you approach them to get one, they have you fill out a form. If you don’t read it carefully, you could inadvertently be applying for a credit card. This could inevitably be your first card, and some students are ill-prepared with this new responsibility.
In a few weeks, you will receive your credit card with a minimum of $350 dollars or maybe even a bit higher. What you do with the credit is critical to your future, and it’s essential you are educated around managing your finances.
2- Rental Scams
You have decided to live off-campus and are looking for a place to live. You see an ad online, the price is affordable, and the location is great. There is an application online that asks for your name, address, social security number,
and date of birth. It also asks for a $25 application fee that requires a credit card. You either have your own or ask your parents to give you a credit card. Now imagine this: after the “property manager” receives your fraudulent rental application along with your credit card information, they disappear. The credit card you have given has been charged for a large amount of money and your social security number and personal information is stolen.
If this happens, you need to immediately freeze your credit report. For more information on how to freeze your report, go to the following link:
3- Scholarship Scams
Be sure to get background information on scholarships and financial aid at the U.S. Department of Education. Also go to Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if you are trying to apply for student loans.
Be weary of online scholarship applications that ask for your checking account for verification. They are most likely stealing your information and your money.
4- Identity Theft
Be suspicious of all calls asking for personal information. If you think you need to keep engaging in the conversation, ask for their phone number and simply call them back.
- School mailboxes are not always secure, so have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address, such as a parent’s home or a post office box.
- Do not loan your credit or debit card to anyone, even to very close friends.
- Social Security cards, financial documents, and unused credit cards should not be kept in school dormitories.
- Locate a shredder and destroy all credit card offers as they can be activated by someone else.
- Use online paperless for financial statements.
- Review your credit report at least once a year to look for unauthorized accounts. Use this link to see your report. This website provides credit reports for TransUnion, Experian and Equifax once a year, free of charge.
- You can go to this link to monitor your report and get help on correcting problems: https://thecreditbureau.com/consumers-credit-reports/