Students must learn to avoid fraudulence

By Maddie Steen

Students cannot be helpless and must learn to protect their bank accounts against possible scams.

Going to college means gaining financial responsibility and protecting one’s money from scammers. When student loans are already being dumped on our heads, the last thing anyone needs is to be scammed out of more money.

Two individuals walked into separate classrooms handing out “internship” information and collected student information on “interest” cards on Aug. 31, according to a Sept. 12 NIU Today article. Although it might have seemed like a legitimate offer at the time, the professors had no prior knowledge of the individuals coming to their classroom.

NIU Career Services works with organizations who come to promote internships and career opportunities on campus which means professors are always aware prior to a visit, according to the article.

Students should ask professors what knowledge they have about the potential internship being announced before they provide any information.

People who come to campus to share internship opportunities schedule a visit to speak about it with a department, said Brandon Lagana, acting executive director of Career Services . Lagana said internship promoters usually partner up with the department and continue to work with them and students throughout the year.

NIU Police warned students to be on the look out for other scams including bank fraud involving debit cards, according to a Sept. 14 NIU Today article. In this situation, students are approached by someone and are guaranteed fast money if they provide their debit card information which is then used to make charges or write checks.

The student is told by the scammer to report their bank card as stolen long after they make these charges with a promise to split the money; the student’s bank is then left to pay. A student can be charged with various counts of Class 4 felonies by reporting the scam as a stolen credit or debit card if they have knowledge it is not, according to the article.

“This quick cash opportunity encourages students to do the wrong thing, which is to take the bait,” wrote NIU Police Chief Thomas Phillips in a Sept. 14 NIU Today article.

Young people are falling into fraud tricks faster than any other age group. 18- to 24-year-olds are the top demographic losing money to scammers; 11 percent of seniors lost money to scams while 18- to 24-year-olds tripled that at 34 percent, according to the Better Business Bureau website.

We as students need to be aware and able to recognize a scam when it’s presented to us.

Students are targeted because we are new to financial independence, deal with more technology and when money and internships are presented to us for free, why wouldn’t we want to take them?

“I would encourage students to understand [first off,] if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and [secondly,] take a minute to step back and say, ‘do you really want to share this information?’,” said Director of Student Conduct Jeanne Meyer.

Falling victim to a scam could leave a student in an unfortunate situation. Through scams, identities can be stolen and used. As students, our credit scores are just now being created.

If a scammer gets a hold of that information, students can kiss their good credit score goodbye. Bad credit can make future purchases difficult; when a student is finally ready to buy their first house or car, a past scam could ruin that big-life step.