With our real life identities further bleeding into our online identities, it could be easier than ever for students to fall victim to online scams.
With the rapid evolution of the Internet through the years, so too has there been a rapid evolution in Internet scams. Today, a scam can come in all kinds fo clever shapes and sizes and it really can come at you from all angles.
Some are now targeting the elderly, pretending to be a grandson or granddaughter who needs money, while others are coming at us through Craigslist, asking us to wire money to a random country overseas.
In the article “To Good to be True,” on A3 of today’s Lanthorn, a Grand Valley State University student talks about her own experience dealing with a scammer with a clever disguise.
Although she managed to avoid potential consequences, the idea as that college students are becoming increasingly bigger targets for email and Internet scams, especially in an age where most students are used to throwing a whole bunch of information on the web without thinking of possible reprecussions.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a page dedicated to Internet fraud and scams that breaks them down into six (yes six( different types ranging from auction, non-delivery of merchandise, credit card, investment, business, and even “Nigerian Letter” or “419” fraud.
As these scams continue to become more complex and harder to recognize, it falls on each of us to educate ourselves to better discern what we are seeing.
Some appear to be more obvious than others; does it make sense to send a large chunk of money to a foreign country or to provide credit card information to a company you have never heard of? Maybe not, but what about the emails that are being sent to students asking them to reset their login usernames or passwords? Those are not nearly as easy to spot.
We’re not going to tell you to read all 100 ways the FBI offers to people to help avoid the different types of fraud, but we will tell you that the truth of the matter is that most Internet scams and fraud can be avoided with a little bit of education, and a lot of common sense.
When you receive that questionable email or receive a message on Craigslist that does appear quite right, step back and think for a moment, “does this make sense?”
Who knows, asking yourself that question may be able to save you some money, or maybe even your identity.