Five Important Back-to-School Fraud Warnings

David P. Frady, August 18, 2021

As students head back to school, fraudsters are working overtime on schemes and scams to steal data, identities and money. Protect yourself by keeping these five fraud opportunities in mind when you provide information or take advantage of special deals for students.

 

Back to School Fraud Warning

 

1. Personal Information 
Safeguard it. Beware of who and where you give your personal information to when you enroll for school, after school programs and other activities. Ensure any documentation you provide is sent to the official address of the institution using a secure link/URL.
Reminder: If you receive an email from a school or organization, confirm its legitimacy before you click on any links or provide personal information.

2. Scholarships and Grants
Research and verify before you apply. Be sure to confirm the validity of every scholarship and grant and the official way to apply before you provide personal information.
Reminder: Almost all financial aid is provided via the federal government or colleges/institutions. Go to their secure site and navigate to the aid applications accordingly. Grants.gov is also a trusted site for information on grants and grant applications. 

3. Online Deals
Beware of scams. As you shop for school supplies, dorm furnishings and new school clothes, shop from legitimate sites. Never click on unknown links and advertisements or respond to ‘you’re a winner’ emails or text messages offering great deals.
Reminder: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Roommate and Rental Schemes
Do your homework. When searching for roommates or places to live, beware of scammers offering places to live and requesting funds without proper communication and documentation. Be sure to ensure the roommate or renter is legitimate before completing an application or sending any money. 
Reminder: You can always request and validate references before meeting with potential roommates.

5. Trial Offers
Read the fine print. Students are often bombarded with various subscription and ‘join now’ offers, especially during their first weeks at a new school. These include trial fitness club memberships, magazine subscriptions, streaming subscriptions and more, and can lead to an expensive commitment.
Reminder: Ensure you know what you’ve signed up for and how much these products will cost after the initial trial offer expires. 

Remember, although Hancock Whitney may call you for verification purposes or send product or promotional offerings via email, we will NEVER contact you and ask you for your Social Security Number, Personal Identification Number or online banking login credentials. 

If you suspect that your Hancock Whitney accounts may have been compromised, please call us at 1-800-448-8812 immediately.