I used to relish going back to school. Although I was sad that summer was over, I loved the idea of new books and school supplies and shopping with my Mom.
These days, as millions shop online, scamsters are engaged in back-to-school scams like never before, notes the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN).
“As the back-to-school season approaches, many families are gearing up for a new academic year,” the CSN states. “Amidst the excitement and preparations, it’s crucial to remain vigilant against a rising threat that targets parents and students alike: back-to-school scams.”
Here are the top five scams and how you can avoid them:
- Fake Online Stores: Scammers create fake websites that appear to sell popular school supplies, textbooks, or clothing at steep discounts.
- Phishing Emails: Cybercriminals send emails pretending to be from educational institutions, asking recipients to update their personal information or login credentials. Fraudsters use social media platforms to promote fake back-to-school deals or giveaways. Clicking on these links can expose users to phishing attempts or lead to malicious websites.
- Tech Support Scams: Scammers impersonate tech support agents and claim that students’ computers have viruses or technical issues.
- Textbook Rental Scams: College students seeking affordable textbook rentals can fall victim to fake rental websites that collect rental fees but never send the books.
- Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams: Scammers pose as organizations offering scholarships or financial aid assistance, asking for upfront fees or personal information to process applications.
My iron-clad rule to protect yourself: Ignore unsolicited or online offers. Do your own shopping — and homework.