Young Adults Can Be Vulnerable to Scams, Attorney General Shares Info for New Graduates

(Attorney General’s Office, June 22, 2023)

Michigan – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants to educate recent high school graduates on how to spot scams so that their path to adulthood does not include becoming the victim of a scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“Graduating from high school and moving on to independence is a big and exciting step for many, whether it be moving to a college campus or joining the workforce,” Nessel said. “Taking care of your finances is not only an effective way to avoid becoming a victim, it also makes it more likely that the money you make will improve your life rather than improving a scammer’s life.”

Employment Scams

As you step into the next phase of life, like many graduates, you may begin your job search. While immersing yourself in that process, you need to look out for job-related scams whether the job offered is in an office or allows you to work from home.

Legitimate employers and scammers alike post positions on popular job search and social media sites, so it’s important to recognize the red flags that signal a scam.

Firstly, you should research the company or the person hiring you online with the words “scam” or “review” in the search criteria. No complaints won’t guarantee the company or person is genuine, but if there are, the complaints will offer you a red flag.

Rental Scams

Moving away from home is a big rite of passage for many graduating seniors. Whether you’re moving across town or to your college town, you need to know what to expect. Most landlords require a security deposit before renting to you. But you should not send your deposit by wire transfer. People can pose as landlords when they are neither owners nor building managers and have no apartments or houses to rent. Wiring money is the same as sending cash. After you send them your money, you cannot get it back.

Vehicle Scams

Buying a vehicle is often an important step in adulthood. Before purchasing a used vehicle, it’s a good idea to have it inspected by an independent mechanic who has no relation to the seller. You should check the vehicle’s history for a small fee through Experian’s Auto Check. The vehicle history should tell you if the car has been in a flood region or has been issued a flood or salvage title. Be sure to read everything before you sign. If you’re trading in a vehicle that you still owe money on, be sure the dealer will pay off the debt, and make sure you get this promise in writing.

Phishing Scams

Most recent graduates are connected online via email, social media, or other apps. That makes it more important than ever that you protect your personal and financial information. Sometimes bad actors use phishing scams to trick you into giving them your information.

Phishing is a cyberattack where a criminal poses as a trusted person/organization to trick potential victims into sharing sensitive data or sending money. Phishing attempts happen both by email and text and target everyone. These emails and texts use believable stories or connections to coerce the recipient into action. The goal is to obtain financial or personal information to commit fraud.

Signs of a phishing email or text are:

  • Urgent action is required.
  • Call or text is unsolicited.
  • Contains poor grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Text sending has a phone number of 10 or more digits.
  • Requests login credentials, payment information, or sensitive data.

You should neither reply to suspicious emails or texts nor click on links or attachments. Your spam filter and spam-blocking tools can keep most phishing emails and texts out of your inbox and off of your devices.

If you have a consumer complaint, or believe you’ve been the victim of a scam, please file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team at:

Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form

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