As students return to colleges and universities for the fall, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota suggests the following tips to make sure scammers don’t make the start of school even more expensive for those paying tuition, figuring out student aid and buying school and dorm supplies:

• Fake credit cards: College students are targeted with these as a quick and easy way to get money. Some credit cards deals could be a fake gimmick to get a student’s personal information, and it could potentially stir up credit problems. Do your research on those credit card flyers and read the fine print before applying.

• Too good to be true apartments: An affordable, conveniently located apartment close to campus sounds like a great deal, but don’t jump on it until you’ve viewed it in person. And never give out credit card or other payment information until after you’ve viewed it and signed a lease.

• Fake credit reports: After age 18, it’s a good idea to start becoming more aware of your credit score and start adapting some healthy money habits. It’s also a helpful signifier of any unusual activity and possible ID fraud. While there are multiple traps online trying to snag your Social Security number with a fake credit score scam, you can safely check your credit score at

• Scholarship and grant scams: Phone calls from companies guaranteeing they can help reduce loan payments or set you up with a hefty grant are worth researching. Even searching the company online could bring up scam alerts from other victims. Contact the school’s financial aid office for advice on the company’s legitimacy or how they can help.

• Employment scams: In 2018, employment scams were the number one culprit for scams attacking 18- to 25-year-olds. Job offers can be sent directly to school emails, promising flexible hours and beyond expected pay. There would be no need to send a Social Security number electronically without knowing exactly who you are sending it to.

• Awareness of current scams: As tech savvy as current college students can be, a surprising number of scams reported to BBB’s ScamTracker ( are from students who learned their lesson too late. Use Scam Tracker to learn of the latest scam trends and read local reports of specific incidents.

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