Scams Directed at Young Adults

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Scams That Catch Young Adults…

and Other People, Too

Many scams rope in people who are not yet wise to the ways of the world.  Here is advice for young adults that may benefit us all…

 If it’s spam, it’s probably a scam. Don’t respond to it. Don’t even open it, because spam may corrupt your computer and can lead to identity theft. If you receive an E-mail, phone call or text message about an account that needs to be “verified,” contact the company or bank independently.

Don’t display your full name in on-line profiles on social networking sites, and be very cautious about entering your street address. Spammers troll the Internet for personal information. Also, avoid E-mail surveys that ask for detailed information. When posting a résumé, leave out your address and phone number. Instead, note that the information is available upon request.

Common scams today…

Overpayment scams involve transactions in which people receive checks for more than they are due. Example: A college graduate advertises — say, on — for a roommate. One respondent seems perfect, and the two agree on terms. The prospective roommate sends a check for a larger amount than the required deposit, then explains that he made a mistake and asks for a refund for the overpayment. He gets his refund — but eventually the bank informs the victim that the original check was fraudulent.

Self-defense: Accept only cashier’s checks from a local bank for the exact amount you are due. Make sure that the funds have not only cleared but also have been collected by the bank. And don’t assume that having a stranger’s phone number means that you can track him/her down. Scammers often use disposable cell phones.

The Nigerian E-mail scam is still alive and well. Targets receive messages from foreigners (not necessarily in Nigeria, though that’s where the scam started) who supposedly have access to an inheritance or other assets in their homeland that they will share with the right person in exchange for helping them gain access to it. As the scam plays itself out, money is requested to pay fees, taxes, etc. — but the expected payout never materializes.

Lottery scams with E-mails promise that big prizes will be yours after you pay various fees and “taxes.” The victims pay. The prizes never arrive.

Source:  Audri Lanford, PhD, codirector of

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