Criminals both in the United State and in foreign countries want to steal your money. While there are hundreds of different types of scams, some are used more frequently to target college students and parents, particularly in the first couple of months of the new semester when they assume students still have financial aid money in their accounts. Here are common scams to watch for:
- Social Security: Frequently claim your Social Security card has been used in criminal activity, and you are going to be arrested unless you give them money (usually via gift cards). Often perpetrated by criminals in foreign countries who think that a Social Security card is like a credit card.
- FBI/police/IRS will arrest you: This is related to the Social Security scam. They claim you will be arrested unless you send gift cards right away. Reminder: No law enforcement agency in the U.S. will ever accept money in order to cancel a warrant. All warrants have to be resolved with a judge, and the courts don’t take iTunes gift cards.
- Cellphone- drug connection: Claim that your cellphone number has been linked with illegal shipments of drugs, and that you are going to be arrested unless you send money (again, gift cards). Just another knock-off of the above scams.
- Your boss needs your help: You receive a text message or email that claims to be from your boss, saying they are in an urgent meeting and need your help. They want you to rush out and by gift cards, and then take photos of the numbers on the back and send them to them. They promise to reimburse you, but of course never will since this is a scam. If you use your own money to buy the gift cards, you will lose your money. If you use NMSU money to do it, you may lose your job and face real criminal charges.
For more information on scams, or to report a scam, click here or here. Remember, if someone is offering something that sounds too good to be true, it is a scam. Hang up, block the number and report it. If you are ever in doubt while on campus, call the NMSU Police Department at 575-646-3311 to ask. And don’t forget, there are other ways criminals also target people, including phishing attempts and ransomware, so be cautious in all of your communications. Don’t let the criminals take your money.