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With the 2022-2023 FAFSA application open and students looking for scholarships to pay for tuition, it can be easy to find a scholarship or easy money that might sound too good to be true.

Chief Information Security Officer at Texas Tech Jeff Barrington said phishing pertains to emails where someone may try to get a student to give up credentials or financial information.

“They target everybody,” Barrington said. “College campuses have, especially when a large campus, has a large amount of potential for threat actor. And, it's profitable. I mean, they're just trying to make money.”

The most common type of phishing scams he said he sees on the university level is a high-paying job opportunity that does not require too much work. Often the attackers will ask students to go offline like in a text message.

According to a 2021 report from the FBI, over 240,000 victims have reported being scammed by phishing. This resulted in an estimated $50 million in losses.

“One of the biggest ways you can do that is just to be vigilant,” Barrington said. “If something sounds like it's too good to be true or anything like that, if it's then, you know, you might take caution, right, and don't provide somebody your banking information over a text message.”

Recently, the FBI has also seen a rise in college students getting attacked with releasing access to their bank accounts.

Usually in the form of impersonation scams or romantic scams, where the attacker pretends to be an individual's bank or a romantic partner, college students often fall victim to card cracking.

Senior Fraud Investigator for A+ Federal Credit Union Shelby Gilstrap said the bank sees all kinds of scams. She said card cracking is when someone responds to a solicitation for some kind of easy money.

“I think it’s bigger than even just the phishing giving out your information,” Gilstrap said. “(With) card cracking, you're giving out your debit card, your PIN number, your online banking credentials, everything to someone.”

Gilstrap said a student is helping scammers gain access to their information. She said scammers usually reach out over social media, then the conversation will go to text message. She said the best thing students can do is to watch out.

“Look out for anything that's easy money,” Gilstrap said. “They're trying to offer something that doesn't quite make sense, you know, it's way too easy.”

Some common examples Gilstrap said she has seen are $2,000 a week to hang out with the scammer, or a wrap-your-car, a scam promising to pay an individual if the person wraps their vehicle with advertisements, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and get paid $800 a week.

A+ Marketing Director Lauren Kelly said the credit union gives information on their blog and social media about how parents can educate their students on fraud and scammers for their members.

“We pride ourselves and hopefully giving enough information so that people don't get in the position in the first place,” Kelly said.

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