Warnings for scams that could target college students

The Better Business Bureau has ways to avoid identity theft

ROANOKE, Va. – Thousands of college students have recently arrived on campuses in southwest Virginia, and scammers could be targeting them.

The Better Business Bureau has some warnings for students to help them avoid losing money to scams. One tactic to be aware of is what could look like a request from a school to update personal or banking information. That can be an attempt at identity theft.

It can look believable if it uses the school’s logo, but Julie Wheeler, who's president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving western Virginia, said a university should direct students to a familiar login page if anything is wrong with account information.

"It's phishing emails, but it's done in ways that target you, your bank account," she said. "It may come as a text message. It may come as an email."

Wheeler said students shouldn’t ever give out their debit card number to someone else and they shouldn’t share personal information, which is something to watch out for in close spaces like dorms.

She said students should be skeptical of credit card offers. Those scams could destroy someone’s credit for years.

"If someone has enough personal information, they could fill a credit card offer out for you, but give their address to where you don't even know the card's been issued," she said.

Wheeler said college-age young adults can be the most vulnerable because of their inexperience.

"You have to realize everybody on campus is not your friend," she said. "It is a community. It's like any community that you're in. There are going to be people that want to take advantage of others."

She said if students want a credit card, it’s best to work with their parents in their hometown if they haven’t built up their credit.

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