(WFRV) – As the graduating Class of 2021 prepare to step into the next phase of their lives, they will be faced with several important life-changing decisions that may include moving to a new city, finding a new job, starting payments on student loans, or simply tackling new financial responsibilities. However, as grads test these new waters, scammers are waiting and eager to take advantage.
According to the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB), graduates looking to start paying off their student loans should take caution. The BBB notes that one of the most common ways scammers target college graduates is with fake loan forgiveness opportunities. Graduates may receive unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages stating that they can qualify for lowered payments through a debt forgiveness program, and while some of these companies may be legitimate, graduates should take the extra steps to confirm the validity of the company.
In the same way, BBB says college graduates or parents of recent graduates may receive unsolicited messages regarding unpaid tuition, and requesting money be sent via wire transfer or a prepaid debit card. Officials say that these calls are likely scammers as government offices and places of higher education will notify the graduate through the mail. Graduates receiving these calls should verify the person’s claims. They can do this by looking up information on the official website or calling the institution’s bursar’s office.
Student loan forgiveness and tuition payments aren’t the only topics scammers are using to take advantage of recent graduates. Scammers have also invaded the career space. The BBB reports that scammers are now offering recent graduates high-paying, easy, entry-level jobs. Officials say that they are drawing new grads in by promoting unrealistic wages for generally labeled job positions, such as “virtual assistant” or “customer service rep.”
Graduates considering a job with a company that they aren’t familiar with, are advised to do some research before they complete an application or agree to an interview. The BBB says people should always make sure the company has legitimate contact information, and the position is posted on their corporate website.
Graduates searching for a place to live should also take caution. According to a recent survey by Apartment List, 43% of people looking for a rental online have encountered a bogus listing. Officials say that in many cases, scammers simply copy the photo and description of real property. Then, they post it online with their own contact information and try to get a deposit and first month’s rent from the victim.
If you are looking to rent a home or apartment, find out how much other rental properties in the area cost before you sign a lease. Graduates are also advised to see the apartment or house in person and to read lease agreement documents thoroughly before signing or sending anything. For more information on scams targeting recent college graduates and how to best avoid them, click here.