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Business advocates warn about scams targeting college students

SALT LAKE CITY — Consumer protection advocates are hoping college students don’t have to learn a harsh lesson about scams during the back to school season. There are some specific scams they’re trying to warn college kids about from non-existent jobs and fake books to phishing scams.

Jane Rupp with the Better Business Bureau says that one of the most prevalent scams that happen across the country is phishing, where con artists trick victims into giving up money because they think they’re interacting with a legitimate business. Scammers can target students with a number of ways through emails, bad web links or even fake job applications. Rupp says generally when scammers reach out to the student, they’ll send a message with a link from someone who they believe they know.

“It sounds really, really urgent like you need to do it now so you click on it and they get your information from you,” she says.

The other involves books. Rupp says there are fake companies pretending to sell university books for cheaper than they would pay at school. She says anyone who wants to purchase anything online needs to research the company they’re shopping from, and if it has any complaints.

Another scam to watch out for, Rupp says, is called a re-shipping scam — and students could even be prosecuted for being involved.

Rupp says scammers frequently entice kids with promises of an easy job that lets them re-ship packages that are sent to their home.

“A lot of times that’s how scammers get the packages sent to someone else… it’s not as easy to catch the people in the middle, but they can be prosecuted,” she added.

Rupp also says scammers have been known to create fake websites pretending to sell books for cheaper than the school will. Since books have become so expensive and people are looking for a deal, it makes them a target for scammers.

Rupp says something as simple as a Google search to see if there are any complaints about the company they’re shopping from before they buy anything can be a good way to see if the company is legitimate or not.