Who would’ve predicted many years ago that we would have to worry or think about scams and all the different types of fraud that’s out there? In today’s day and age, it isn’t only adults and elderly people who are being targeted, but teens as well.
Teens are easy targets for a few different reasons. Here are three tips on how you can stop and prevent fraud from happening to you.
Scholarships, Grants and Financial Aid Fraud
You might be thinking “How could scholarships, grants, or even financial aid have anything to do with fraud?” but it’s simple – anything that requires sensitive, personal information puts you at risk.
If any websites or companies require small payments or offer money-back guarantees before providing an application, that’s an immediate red flag. Always work directly with the schools that you are applying to and double check the FAFSA website when applying for financial aid; it should always be an official .gov site.
Social media is fun, like posting pictures and keeping up with old friends, but it can also play a role with fraud. Be on the lookout for online quizzes that request personal information or online donations that are emotionally driven.
Even non-reputable apps or programs requiring a one-time payment before being able to download are all warning signs. Be smart and don’t give financial or personal information out before doing research first.
Money Prizes and Transfers
Common “winner” scams can actually cost you a lot of money. For example, you might receive a text or direct message via social media saying “You’re our winner!” or something similar, as if you’ve won a prize. If you respond back, the scammer will then ask for personal information that will allow them access to your financial accounts to transfer the prize money. It’s best to not engage with these types of messages and instead block the user, report them, and delete the message.
Always make sure that if you are transferring money to anyone (even if it’s to pay a friend back) that the story matches and that it’s really them and their account.
These tips are not here to scare you, but to show you some of the different types of fraud that’s out there. Even though you may not be an adult yet, you’re not safe from fraud and scammers. Do research and always ask questions before making a decision.