Scams Out to Get You

By Arkansas Next on Friday, April 5, 2024

The most common scams targeting teens (and how to avoid them!)

How they get you

How to avoid them

Fake scholarship opportunities con eager students into giving out their personal and financial information.
Only apply using reputable and verified scholarship resources; ask your counselors or parents to review the scholarship(s) to ensure it's safe to apply.
Some opportunities to buy cryptocurrency are scams waiting to take your money and run. Not to mention, all cryptocurrency is unstable, unregulated and risky. Cryptocurrency scams stole over $3.8 billion in 2022.*
Stick to USD currency, as it’s protected in your bank by the FDIC, or if you must, research to find the most reputable companies. Don't forget, cryptocurrency prices are extremely volatile and the digital currency is plagued by uncertainty.
Fake contests gather user data to be used criminally, and there are no prizes to show for.
Limit the number of times you give out your data; make sure the company hosting the giveaway or contest is legit.
Online offers promise products at incredibly low prices, luring naive users to buy, but the goods never arrive.
If the deal seems too good to be true—like a new pair of Jordan's for $25, when they’re normally $120—it’s probably a scam. The chance to save money now is not worth the risk.
Fraudulent sites and social media accounts ask users to provide personal information that they’ll use for identity theft.
Check to see if the website has any security providers or site verifications at the bottom of the homepage; check your security settings on your devices to help protect you automatically.
Fake job postings for work on legitimate sites with unusual requests for prospective employees to buy things and send to the company—or trickier still, the “company” sends applicants a check before starting the job.
Do not deposit that check! Real job offers don’t come with a stipulation to pay or buy anything to get hired. Run the job posting, your interview and subsequent correspondences with the company by your parents or a trusted adult. What do they think?
Free services and free trials with fine print locking teens into expensive, long-term contracts and subscriptions.
Read the fine print. When downloading a free app or signing up for a free service, if they ask for your credit or debit card number during sign-up, it means it will eventually cost you (and likely will be expensive).
Email scams in which the sender poses as a well-known company like FedEx, Amazon or your bank to bait recipients to click. Clicking kick-starts the hack in your account, giving scammers access to your data.
Check that your name is spelled correctly; check that the business name is spelled normally; check the email address (Does it have an extra letter, symbols or weird dashes? Is it really long?). If any email looks out of place in your inbox, don’t risk it. Delete it. Trust your gut.
Multi-level marketing gigs for companies offering wealth, free vacations and luxury cars to recruits. The system operates based on a pyramid dynamic (that’s why they’re often called “pyramid schemes”) where you sell products but, more importantly, you recruit more people to help sell the products (and recruit), too. These jobs promise that the more recruits you bring on, the more money you make.
Just say no. Don’t even take the typically high-pressure sales pitch to join (even though it’s usually a good friend who already got hooked into trying to recruit you). Note: These pyramid schemes make recruits pay hundreds of dollars for products to “start your business.” It often takes so long to recoup the initial investment that recruits give up and take a loss—never making a dime. We highly suggest avoiding these jobs!
Free goods with credit card sign-up. Sometimes it’s free pizza or concert tickets. Other times it’s a gift card or cash back bonus. No matter what the freebie, don’t take the bait.
Do not sign up for a credit card until you have to, and seek advice from a trusted adult to help you navigate the process. Click here for tips on building and protecting your precious credit.