At some point in your life, you will, unfortunately, get a call from a mysterious telemarketer trying to sell you (mostly fake) offers. These callers usually go after the elderly community due to their deeper pockets than average college students. However, these calls are anything but innocent since personal information can be leaked such as social security numbers, addresses, and even bank account. Some of the most common scams deal with counterfeit checks, fake grandchildren, grants from the government, secret shoppers, and fake dates.
This is a physical scam in which you would receive a (counterfeit) check in the mail, call the number associated with it and be asked to deposit it into your bank account to wire a portion of it overseas to another account. Most of the time the deal seems too good to be true since you can "earn" a profit of the check. However, by the time you transfer it over the scammer's number is out of service and the bank can't undo the transfer you just made putting you in a lot of financial trouble.
One of the most common scam since elderly folks are targeted more often is where the telemarketer calls an older person claiming he/she is their grandchild. They will say that they are in serious financial or legal trouble and need cash to be wired to them immediately. The scammer most of the time gets the person's grandchild's information through social media to make it seem more realistic.
Grants From the Government
Usually, with this scam a telemarketer calls a student and announces they won a popular government grant and can receive it when they tell them all their bank info and social security number. The advice by the DOJ is to not entertain such calls. Once the "bank info goes through" the telemarketer hangs up and the victim will see a nasty number of transactions on their bank account. The best thing to avoid this situation is to just hang up or ask for verification.
The secret shopper scam happens when you receive an email to be a secret shopper and to please test their payment systems. The victim will receive a check for a couple hundred dollars and be told to wire a certain percentage of it overseas. Once the wire transfer is complete the victim realizes the check is counterfeit and owes an excess amount of money.
Once of the saddest scams, the victim receives a message from "the love of their life" asking for a couple hundreds of dollars to "test their love." Unfortunately, in most cases, the victim falls for it and is out a couple hundred dollars as well as a lover. Best case scenario, stick to real dating, not the online stuff.