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Students Warned to Look Out for Rental Scams | BU Today

Written by on July 6, 2021

Final yr at the moment, the COVID-19 pandemic had deep-sixed in-person courses, regular occupancy of campus housing, and lots of different routines of life on BU’s campuses. However one factor even the pandemic couldn’t kill was on-line scams, usually aimed toward worldwide college students. 

In line with a BU Today piece final fall, at the least 22 scams have been reported final August, and so they defrauded BU college students of virtually $300,000. This yr, with the pandemic now fading, the BU Police Division expects extra and bolder efforts from scammers.

Robert Molloy, BUPD deputy chief, noticed one such deception two weeks in the past, when a trusting BU scholar positioned an advert on Craigslist’s “Flats Needed” part and shortly acquired a promising response, full with an house handle. The deal could be assured, the scholar was advised, as quickly as $3,200 was deposited into a delegated checking account. Predictably, Molloy says, the “renter” vanished as quickly as the cash was despatched.

“We hear about lots of comparable scams at the moment yearly,” says Molloy. “College students who’re searching for flats ought to suppose twice earlier than they ship cash to somebody they don’t know. We suggest that college students use solely native rental administration corporations which are established and identified.”

And it isn’t simply rental scams that college students must look out for. Kelley O’Connell, BUPD detective lieutenant, has seen quite a lot of cons. Some contain telephone calls from overseas scammers who inform college students that their passports got here up in fraud investigations and request figuring out data, in addition to funds to be despatched to numerous accounts. Others, she says, supply pretend checks to job alternatives marketed by BU’s profession and job placement heart, and investigated circumstances present that the reporting events have usually been contacted by compromised BU electronic mail addresses. Different scams contain fraudulent courting apps that persuade college students to ship compromising photographs of themselves, she says, then blackmail them for cash with threats of going public with the photographs.

The excellent news, O’Connell says, is that extra college students are reporting tried scams to the police. She advises anybody who suspects that they’re the sufferer of a rip-off to name the BUPD at 617-353-2121. She additionally means that college students grow to be accustomed to BU’s Phish Bowl, an ideal supply of data to forestall cyber scams, and that they take an excellent take a look at the fraud prevention tips from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

These ideas embrace the next:

Don’t supply to deposit a test into your account if requested by an unknown particular person. The particular person might declare they don’t have an account themselves and supply up a sob story about how they need assistance cashing a test. It’s essential to recollect that you’re financially accountable for all gadgets deposited into your account. Don’t present your account go browsing credentials to anybody. In case you do, they will deposit stolen or counterfeit checks into your account. The financial institution will maintain you financially accountable. 

Don’t assume an electronic mail or telephone name is genuine. Simply because somebody is aware of your primary data (equivalent to your identify, date of beginning, and handle), it doesn’t imply the e-mail or telephone name is reputable. Criminals will use a spread of social engineering strategies to get your private identifiable data. By no means give out your social safety quantity.

Know who you might be paying, through person-to-person funds—i.e., Zelle, Venmo, and so forth. Pay and obtain cash solely with folks you understand. Don’t pay strangers with P2P (individual to individual). Most person-to-person transactions are instantaneous and irreversible.

Don’t pay for merchandise on-line or through the telephone utilizing a debit card. Debit playing cards are weak as a result of they’re linked to a checking account. You may have a much better likelihood of resolving a fraudulent transaction when paying with a bank card relatively than with a debit card. Additionally, don’t present your debit/bank card numbers over the telephone, through emails, or on web sites until you initiated the decision or order.

Don’t use an ATM machine should you discover wires or a skimming machine hooked up to the place you insert your card. Additionally, cowl the keypad together with your hand, a hat, or one other piece of clothes when inputting pin numbers. Notify the financial institution or native police should you observe machine(s) hooked up to the ATM machine you might be utilizing. 

Don’t make a debit card buy with out first verifying the account stability. Most monetary establishments will enable the transaction to course of by even whenever you don’t have sufficient funds to cowl the cost. This may end in penalties and pointless charges.

Get your free credit score report at annualcreditreport.com. Every year chances are you’ll obtain one free credit score report from every of the three credit score reporting companies (TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian). Upon receipt, test for unauthorized accounts, inquiries, and unknown addresses. 

In case you consider you’re the sufferer of a rip-off, contact the BUPD at 617-353-2121.

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