3 Common Back to School Scams

3 Common Back to School Scams

You may think your children are safe; however, no matter the age of your child, whether they are a pre-teen or young adults, they are never out of the reach of cybercriminals and scams. The best way to protect your children is to teach them the signs of an untrustworthy email or a suspicious phone call. By doing so, you are protecting them when you may not be present.

If you, yourself, are unaware of what to look for, here are the 3 common back to school scams you should be familiar with.

Phishing Scams

Students who are, for instance, heading to university should be wary when it comes to their emails. The phishing scams that usually circulate this time of year are trying to get you to share your personal details, for the purposes of identity theft and fraud. Be cautious of any emails sent with regards to any loans you may be taking out, or if your bank or university themselves are asking for financial or personal details.

The best way to snub these emails is to phone the company they are perpetrating to be. They will be able to say whether they sent you an email or not. If it is the latter, you can ignore the email. Of course, if you do accidentally fall prey to a phishing scam, there are professionals in identity fraud who can help you out. You should also notify your bank immediately.

High School Diploma Scams

Not all of us complete our high school diplomas in the usual settings, and so if you are returning to high school or completing your diploma via online learning, you need to be cautious about the company or facility you are putting your trust in. Not only do these types of scams cost you money, but at the end of the day, the victim still won’t have a diploma.

The usual red flags consist of you having to pay for a diploma, being able to earn a diploma in a short amount of time (a couple of days or so), and being able to take the test online (these tests are never administered over the internet).

Scholarship Scams

College is not cheap, and unfortunately, some students have to take out loans for them to be able to pay for their education. Fraudsters, therefore, have found ways to offer fake scholarships to soon-to-be students. To protect yourself, follow these following tips:

  • Never pay for your scholarship. You will never be expected to pay fees or taxes, so if they ask you for any payment, it is a scam, and you should ignore it.
  • If a company guarantees your scholarship, this is, sadly, a sign of a scam. While companies are looking to help students, they can never guarantee a scholarship, and so this is a major sign of fraudulent activity.

You can never be too trusting when it comes to protecting your identity and finances, especially when it comes to securing your future with regards to school and tuition fees. Therefore, be sure to question any unusual activity, and if you are ever unsure, ask for proof by phoning up the company and confirming the email of the person they are claiming to be.

Email Scams: What to Watch Out For

Email Scams: What to Watch Out For

Email scams, also known as phishing scams, are a popular fraudulent activity many criminals attempt to make use of. Usually, the emails are trying to steal your personal information such as bank details; they can pose as your bank or lull you into a false sense of complacently, by acting as if you’ve won a competition, for example. Other methods include infecting your computer with malicious malware, which will infect your computer or any other electronic device you’re using.

Luckily, there are many ways for you to stay one step ahead of phishing scams. Here’s what to watch out for when it comes to deciding whether an email is trustworthy or not.

Check the ‘From’ Address

The name may seem trustworthy and professional; however, if you hover over the sender’s name, you may be surprised to find out that it was sent by the email address ‘johndoe@hotmail.com’. Ask yourself, would your bank be contacting you through a Hotmail address? Of course, the answer would be a firm ‘no.’

How is the Greeting?

It’s easy to find out your name, but that doesn’t mean all scammers are likely to send you a personal email. They’re trying to hit as many people as they can, and so the email is more than likely to start with a simple and impersonal ‘Hi.’ Once this quick greeting is out-of-the-way, you’ll find that the email is rushing to get to the point: asking for your personal and bank details.

Cross-Examine the Branding

Anyone can work their magic with Photoshop, but that doesn’t mean the logo will be completely accurate. Check everything, from the line work to the coloring, to the slogan (if there is one), and whether they sit in the same place, they usually do. You should also check it against the last genuine email you were sent by them.

Are They Asking for Personal or Bank Details?

Not one company or business would ask you to input your personal or bank details through an email, and so if they are asking you to sign-in or update your existing details, it is likely going to be a scam. Personal details they may ask of you include:

  • Credit card number
  • PIN number
  • Credit card security code
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • The answer for any typical security questions, such as the name of your first pet or the street you grew up on.

Check the Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling

Professional emails should not be littered with grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes. Font styles and size should be consistent, and usually, a company will use the same font throughout all their company emails.

Make Contact with the Real Company

The safest route you can take is to contact the company directly and ask them whether they have sent a recent email to you. The company will be able to check, and with social media, they are incredibly quick at picking up these issues customers may be experiencing. Big companies are usually aware of scams that are currently circulating, and so they may already have an FAQ on scams to look out for.