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Posted May 13, 2020

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, adults and elderly people aren’t the only ones who are being targeted; teens are often affected as well.

Teens are easy targets for a few different reasons. Here are three tips on how you can stop and prevent fraud if you fall into this age group or educate the people you care about if you’re an adult.

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 or verified organization. Also double check the FAFSA website when applying for financial aid; it should always be an official .gov site.

Social Media

Social media is fun for posting pictures and keeping up with friends, but it can also play a big 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!” 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 report them, block the user, 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. No one is safe from fraudsters and scammers. Always do research and ask questions before making a decision.