Scammers can prey on inexperienced students who need cash but neglect the red flags. A 2019 study revealed that 1 out of 3 scams targeted international students due to their lack of knowledge of systems and processes. While this statistic is quite alarming, it’s best to guard yourself against these vices. That said, here are some top scams to avoid as a student.
Usually, university students take up jobs to supplement their pocket money. Unfortunately, scammers constantly plot dubious means to take away the already little money these students have. Most of the time, employment scams come as job offers to target students at the tertiary level. However, there are red flags you should always be on the lookout for, some of which include:
- Job offers from a suspicious-looking email address
- Demand for payment before a job interview
- The offer sounds too good to be true.
Thanks to the internet, you can research more about job offers with ease. You can check their social media platforms, website, call the numbers to ascertain their credibility. The goal here is to be security-conscious and avoid becoming a victim.
Student accommodation scams
While student accommodation is beneficial for students, scammers try to dupe students through this avenue. It explains why about 34% of new university students since 2017 have fallen prey to this societal canker. Fortunately, with some background information on what to expect when looking for student accommodation, scammers will have no avenue to operate. These are critical steps you must take before making any payment:
- Conduct background research on average student housing options
- Avoid making cash payments.
- Try to meet the landlord in person.
Additionally, always ensure you have a written tenancy agreement with the landlord or an authorised representative. Moreover, never agree to an unsigned tenancy agreement, hoping that the landlord will append their signature on a later day. Lastly, no matter how pressured you are, never settle for the first student housing facility you find.
Money mule scams
Money mule scams work by targeting unsuspecting victims to share their bank details for illegal transactions. As the money mule, you have no idea where the money is coming from, where it’s going, and what it’s intended for. It’s worth noting that scammers use this system because it hides their identity while putting the money mule at risk.
A 2020 Sky News survey discovered that persons under the age of twenty-five were most likely to fall prey to this scam. Meanwhile, in 2017, UK banks discovered over 8000 accounts owned by young people aged 14 and 21. The shocking bit about these bank accounts was their active participation in money mule scams.
It’s best to avoid shady dealings, no matter how juicy the package may seem to you. Sometimes, the repercussions are dire and irreversible and might affect your finances. For example, you can inadvertently earn a criminal record in money mule scams while trying to help someone out with a simple bank transaction.