College Fund Scam Alert

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The New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is alerting consumers to be cautious about ‘College Fund’ messages that may be sent through email. Scammers posing as representatives of government agencies target college students, claiming that there are available funds for higher education in your home State. You are told that the money will be deposited into your checking account directly, once you provide your financial information. You are then asked to click on a link for more information to check if you are qualified. Scammers have even upped their game by providing fake links for you to “unsubscribe” or “report as spam” at the bottom of these messages. Once you click on either of these links, you are exposing your computer and your personal information at risk.

Unsure if your email is a scam, follow these tips:

  • Do not click on links or open attachments in any email that is from an unknown source.
     
  • Know that the only financial aid information you can trust will come directly from the federal government or the college itself, unless you have requested information from private financial institutions. Solicitation offers are highly suspicious.
     
  • Only use built-in spam filters from your mailbox to report spams. Do not click on any link from the message you received even though it says “report as spam”. Do not click on any “unsubscribe” link from unknown senders.
     
  • Do not give out your personal information, such as bank account number, full name, home address, social security number, etc.
     
  • Pay attention to details in the messages you received. For example, the way you are being addressed, the grammar errors in the message, etc. These mistakes are usually good indications that the email is fraudulent.
     

For more information regarding identity theft prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at (518) 474-8583.