Latest target of fraudsters: university graduates | WFRV Local 5

(WFRV) – As the 2021 graduates prepare to move on to the next phase of their lives, they will be faced with several important life-changing decisions, including moving to a new city, finding a new job, the start of payments for student loans, or simply tackling new financial responsibilities. However, as graduates test these new waters, crooks are waiting and eager to take advantage.

According to the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB), graduates looking to start paying off student loans should exercise caution. The BBB notes that one of the most common ways for crooks to target college graduates is through bogus loan forgiveness opportunities. Graduates may receive unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages stating that they are eligible for reduced payments through a debt cancellation program, and while some of these companies may be legitimate, graduates must take additional steps to confirm the validity of the business.

Likewise, BBB says college graduates or parents of recent graduates may receive unsolicited messages regarding unpaid tuition fees and request that money be sent by wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Officials say these calls are likely scammers, as government offices and higher education institutions will notify the graduate by mail. Graduates who receive these calls should verify the person’s assertions. They can do this by searching for information on the official website or by calling the institution’s treasurer’s office.

Canceling student loans and paying tuition fees aren’t the only topics scammers use to take advantage of recent graduates. The crooks have also invaded the career space. The BBB reports that scammers are now offering young graduates easy, well-paying jobs for beginners. Officials say they are attracting new graduates by promoting unrealistic salaries for generally labeled positions, such as “virtual assistant” or “customer service representative.”

Graduates considering employment with a company they are unfamiliar with are encouraged to do some research before completing an application or accepting an interview. The BBB says people should always make sure the company has legitimate contact information and that the position is posted on their company website.

Graduates looking for accommodation should also exercise caution. According to a recent Apartment List survey, 43% of people looking for a rental online have come across a fake ad. Officials say that in many cases, scammers simply copy the photo and description of the real estate. Then they post it online with their own contact details and try to get a bond and the victim’s first month’s rent.

If you are looking to rent a house or apartment, find out about the cost of other rental properties in the area before signing a lease. Graduates are also advised to see the apartment or house in person and read the rental agreement documents carefully before signing or sending anything. For more information on scams targeting recent college graduates and the best way to avoid them, click here.

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