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