GRAPHIC | Johnan Mitchell
As the holiday season rolls around and the semester comes to an end, students begin to think about purchasing gifts for their families and planning out their spring semester. This week, Arka Tech would like to advise our fellow students to be cautious of the scams that target college students in this day and age.
These scams include multi-level marketing, phishing, job or hiring scams, scholarship scams, fake online retailers, and more.
Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a sales strategy in which products or services are sold directly to customers by salespeople without having to go to retail stores. MLM companies sell cosmetics, essential oils or supplements, jewelry, and other items. With lawful MLM companies, while their prices may be high, the products are not the major cause for concern. Students should be more aware of recruitment into MLM companies. While receiving commission from sales and bonuses from recruitment may seem like an enticing way to earn money, those who participate often end up losing more money than they gain.
Unlawful MLM companies are known as pyramid schemes. Pyramid schemes are disguised as using MLM strategy, but no authentic products are involved. Participants seek to make money purely by networking and recruiting new participants. The Arkatech advises students to be cautious of schemes targeting college students.
Phishing is when you are sent a fraudulent message designed to trick you into giving out sensitive information so that the scammer can hack your accounts, steal your identity, or deploy malicious malware. Phishing can be done through email, text, social media, and phone calls. As a rule of thumb, never open links sent by unknown numbers, even if they claim to be a business like Amazon or your cellular data provider.
Job or hiring scams are the most common scams that enter our school emails. You may receive a chain email sent to you and people with names or email handles similar to your own. This email may be a message from a fake employer offering a job. You may also receive emails pretending to be from professors looking for help with their research. Scholarship scams are similar to this, in which you receive an offer for a scholarship that is not real.
As a general rule of thumb, never give out your personal information, such as your social security number, debit or credit card numbers, or driver’s license number, to anyone you cannot thoroughly verify as trustworthy. This will prevent identity theft and hacking.
Another tip is to be cautious of offers that seem “too good to be true.” You can contact the financial aid office or career services to help you if it is a false scholarship or job offer. If you need more time, ask for advice from friends and family.
Finally, simple awareness of scams will go a long way to help you avoid them. Online you can find many resources to teach you about types of scams and how to stay safe. Arka Tech has always taken student safety very seriously. Like all other issues, scams are no joke, and students should take precautions.