Scams target college students

Photo courtesy of Geralt/Pixabay

New data that point to increases in the prevalence of online scams targeting college students have made it especially important for University of San Diego students to stay vigilant of cybersecurity threats. The FBI released a public service announcement on Jan. 18 after students reported fraudulent job offers and fake IRS enforcement threats.

As greater awareness of these cyber threats spread throughout the law enforcement community in the following months, campuses across the country started working to inform and protect their students from being targeted. The Department of Public Safety at USD released a bulletin on Tuesday, March 21 identifying which scams have been trending. Public Safety detailed how best to avoid becoming victim to the schemes of internet con-artists.

The bulletin pointed to employment scams, IRS scams, government agency scams, and tuition payment scams as being the most prevalent. These scams were also distinguished as the most significant in terms of the number of students who have responded to them and how much money has been lost as a result.

According to a report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), international students are more susceptible to the scams because of the language and culture barriers that make it difficult for them to distinguish scams from genuine offers and bills.   The DHS recognized this particular threat several months ago and released a bulletin to warn study-abroad participants who have registered through the DHS Study in States program.

According to Public Safety, no USD students have reported any such scams as of late.  The Department of Public Safety encourages any students who experience a scam or come across suspicious emails to file a report online or in person.

Glenn McDonnel | Contributor