HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning college graduates of scams targeting them as they find a new place to live, search for a job and begin the dreaded task of paying off their student loans. Scammers are eager to take advantage of young people just entering their new chapter in life.
If you’re also a college graduate, here are some tips to help you avoid common scams.
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Don’t fall for fake loan forgiveness opportunities.
It’s common to get unsolicited emails, calls and even text messages from your university as you join their alumni list. They don’t give you a lot of time off before asking for donations. But there are also companies that reach out these ways saying you qualify for lowered payments through a debt forgiveness plan.
Some of these companies are real, but they pitch services with false claims, and others are fake, only hoping to get their hands on your personal information and money. That’s why you should know the terms of your student loans before you fill out any form or pay any fee.
Ask your university directly what kind of interest you owe, what you need to start paying and how long you’ll be expected to make payments. Scammers might also contact you about loan repayment in response to COVID-19. Click here for more information.
Don’t accept a new job without doing your research.
If you’re considering a job with a company you haven’t heard of, do some research before you even apply or agree to an interview. Scammers are skilled at drawing in new graduates by offering entry-level jobs with high wages for generic job titles, such as “virtual assistant” or “customer service rep.”
They may ask for your bank account and Social Security numbers, claiming they need your personal information to set up direct deposit or file taxes. Scammers might also require you to pay for training or to pay back extra funds that the company “accidentally” gave you.
Make sure the job you’re looking at is also on the company’s website. Click here for more information.
Don’t send money to someone for an apartment you haven’t seen.
Scammers like to copy and paste the photo and description of a real property, then post it online with their own contact information. They will try to get a deposit and first month’s rent. If you found a gorgeous apartment in a trendy neighborhood and the price is affordable — there’s a good chance it’s a scam.
Do your research. Find out how much other rental properties in the area cost before signing a lease. Most importantly, see the apartment yourself. If you’re planning to move from another state and can’t see it, ask someone you trust to go there and confirm it is what was advertised.
Finally, make sure to read the lease agreement before signing. Ask your family, friends and colleagues to look at it if you have doubts or questions. Click here for more information.
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To learn more about scams and how to avoid them, visit BBB.org/AvoidScams.