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Scams college students should watch out for

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – First-time college students will test their independence as they head off to school this fall, but they may also get experience with scammers.

“This is a demographic where they’re actually more susceptible than they may think,” Michelle Shaffer with the Better Business Bureau said.

One of the most common scams targeting college students comes from student loan forgiveness companies.

“They are businesses that really are going to charge a fee for a lot of services that are actually free if you go directly to the government,” Shaffer said.

Another big scam is off-campus rentals. If you rent an apartment or room sight unseen, it may be offered to multiple people, or may not even exist. You may not find out until your deposit and first month’s rent check are already cashed.

Students should do a quick investigation of public records to confirm the ownership and status of the property.

“Whenever you see the words ‘wire funds’ it’s usually a pretty big red flag,” Shaffer said.

Credit card scams can also hit college students hard. It’s best to have a parent review any credit card offers before signing up.

“Things like extremely high interest rates,” Shaffer said. “Make sure you’re working with an entity that has a familiar name.”

These threats aren’t just out there for young college students; everyone is susceptible. Scammers are always coming up with new ways to get money.