Attention Students & Young Adults: Don’t Fall for These Scams

By: Sheryl Harris, Director, Department of Consumer Affairs


College-age consumers – many of whom are wrestling with jobs and finances for the first time – can be particularly vulnerable to scams.

So the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs’ web page now offers tips and tools that 18- to 25-year-olds can use to avoid common scams that can leave them unable to pay legitimate bills.

One college student, for example, reported being left several thousand dollars in debt after accepting a bogus job offer. Her new boss sent her a large check, telling her to deposit it, keep her salary and wire the rest to another company. She did as she was instructed, but just after she wired the money, her bank notified her that her paycheck was counterfeit. Instead of making money, her job left her in debt to her bank.

Being scammed isn’t her fault – that’s the scammer’s doing. But as victim, she was the one left in a financial mess.

Think about how differently her story would have ended if she’d known just two things:

  • Even if money from a deposited check appears in your account, it’s not safe to spend it until you verify the check cleared the issuing bank.
  • One of the big red flags for a job scam is that your new employer asks you to deposit checks in your personal account and then forward money to others.

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ new "Students & Young Adults" has tips to help people spot and avoid tricky employment scams, social media scams and other frauds that target younger consumers.

It also has advice for getting on better financial footing right when you start work by building a budget, managing college debt and avoiding costly mistakes when buying a used car.

If you know young adults who are heading off to college or into the world of work, share the link. And if you encounter a scam, report it to the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs.