INDIANAPOLIS — The Better Business Bureau has a warning out about scams targeted at recent college graduates.
One of the most common ways scammers get them to fall for it is with fake loan forgiveness opportunities.
You may receive an unsolicited email, phone call or text message saying you can qualify for lowered payments.
Scammers may also contact college graduates regarding a student loan repayment hiatus in response to COVID-19.
“Be sure you know the terms and services of your student loans if you have them,” said Shelbi Felbinger, a spokesperson with the BBB Serving Central Indiana. “So if you receive an unsolicited message and it seems convincing, reach out to your financial institution or university in order to confirm that.”
The Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana warns scammers are also doing rental scams in which they copy a photo and description of a real property and post it online.
“Make sure you go and visit these places,” said Felbinger. “Make sure to not rent somewhere sight unseen. Make sure you understand your entire contract because a lot of college students need somewhere to stay and they're falling victim to these rental scams."
The BBB also provided the following tips for current college students.
- Fake credit cards - Research the offers from the credit card flyers as well as the banking institutions before applying. Some of the deals could be phony offers designed to get access to personal information.
- Too Good to be true apartments - It’s hard to not jump on a convenient apartment so close to campus, especially if it advertises affordable rent. It’s tempting to hand over credit card information online to lock in a great spot, but it’s always worth seeing the apartment in person prior to a money transfer. This also applies to Craigslist ads of other students looking for roommates.
- Safe credit reports - It’s a good idea to start practicing some healthy money habits as early as the age of 18. One such habit is regularly checking your credit report for unusual activity and possible ID fraud. The official government website to do this for free is annualcreditreport.com.
- Scholarship and grant scams - Be wary of phone calls from companies guaranteeing they can help reduce loan payments or offer a hefty grant. Searching the company’s name online could bring up scam alerts or negative reviews from other consumers. Read reviews and complaints about the company at BBB.org and contact the school’s financial aid office for advice and help regarding financing your education.
- Online shopping scams - Online purchase scams can be especially effective when they are set up through social media platforms and apps. BBB has tips for smart shopping online.