Online Scammers Target Student Tuition Payments

Did you know that scammers could be after your credit card information and your money?

Scammers use social media and word-of-mouth to target student populations at U.S. colleges and universities by claiming to offer discounts on school tuition if the student makes a tuition payment via the fraudulent site. The victims are subsequently asked to provide their credentials and their credit card information to the school’s online tuition payment portal. A tuition payment is made on behalf of the student, and the student, in turn, transfers money to get “the discount.”  In a few days, students find out that the tuition payment was made with stolen credit card information resulting in a chargeback to the student, while the scammers make off the student’s money and credit card information.

To make the story seem more believable, unwitting students are sometimes recruited to help promote this tuition scam to their friends. This scheme has resulted in students being unable to pay tuition and left with little recourse in recovering their funds. While this scam is concentrated around a few universities at the moment, it is quickly proliferating to other educational institutions.

How can you avoid being a victim of this scam?

  • Never share their online credentials with anyone.
  • Only use payment methods approved by the college.
  • Advise your parents/guardians not to respond to any third party solicitations for payment of tuition fees at a discount.

If you have any questions or think you may have been a victim of a scam, please email [email protected].