3 On Your Side

3OYS Warning: College scams on the rise

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A Valley financial adviser says young college students are too trusting and, in many cases, simply naive when it comes to college loan scams. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) A Valley financial adviser says young college students are too trusting and, in many cases, simply naive when it comes to college loan scams. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

Most college students are young and because of their inexperience in life, that makes them the perfect candidates for scammers. With that in mind, here are a few things to watch out for

"I majored in business management with a minor in environmental science," said recent college graduate Braxton Brutsche. He said he's lucky to have landed a job so fast.

"It feels great," he said. "I'm excited to have the independence and excited to be working full time."  

Brutsche says he's also lucky to have avoided so many of the college loan scams that are out there. He's heard the nightmare stories where students would fall victim.

"You’re fresh into college, right out of your parent’s home; you think you’re being threatened," Jim Dew, a financial advisor here in the Valley, explained. "It can be concerning for a lot of college students. A lot of them give information very freely, so they're targets." 

Dew says young college students are too trusting and, in many cases, simply naive when it comes to college loan scams.

"Students are a target because often they are away from home for the first time; many times aren't very savvy on financial matters," Dew said.

He said one of the biggest college scams around is when a student receive what appears to be a notice from the administration or tuition office. Usually, those letters will say that tuition is owed and if it's not paid, the school will drop the student from his of her classes.That can be very scary to a student

Brutsche says while he was in college he heard about this particular scam frequently.

"They would threaten you, say if you don't pay this amount of money, we might kick you out of class, or you're gonna be in debt," he sad.

Another common scam, Dew says, is what he calls "the bogus student tax notice." In that case, the scammer calls the student and says he or she owes money to the IRS. Once again, there is the threat of being dropped from classes if the money is not paid right away.

Then there all the fake credit card offers.

"Students are pushed to apply for credit cards on campus, through email sometimes. Those are just offers just to try and get students' personal information for potential identity theft," Dew said.

There's also the fake rental listing in which college students may see a condo or rental house online and think they're dealing with the homeowner. They're asked to send a security deposit not knowing they're sending the money to someone who has nothing to do with the property.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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