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Mobile, Computing & Tech

The Rise of Cyber Fraud: Common Scams Targeting Students

4 Mins read

Those born in the late 90s and onwards use technology from a young age. They have used mobile phones since their early years, including game consoles, computers and tablets. All of these products have many cyber security concerns. 

The issue with the younger generation working with technology from a young age is that they are far more trusting of strangers they talk to online. It leaves them vulnerable to online scams and can lead to them giving out information that can be misused. 

In the US alone, the FBI reported 14,919 scam incidents under the age of 19 in 2021. In total, the amount of money lost was $101.4 million. 

There are several ways scammers can access your details through short-term courses or investment opportunities. Let’s see the most common scams that target students who steal their identity, confidential information and money. 

Social Media Scams

Teens use social media and are usually the primary source of scammers. We all know that society relies more on news and information through social media. It is a platform we all use however, more teenagers use it than any other age. With many teenagers having some form of social anxiety because of the pandemic, they all rely on social media for their interactions with other people, including strangers. 

Identity theft has been a common online scam in the 21st century. Scammers will request personal information so they can access accounts. It can also be used to catfish people on dating platforms, which is something else teenagers use. 

There are many social media scams to be cautious of but they usually stem from someone you don’t know. Make sure you are careful of who you interact with on social media. 

Online Shopping Scams

Shopping has been made easy because of the online world and teenagers are at the forefront. It is simple and easy to do, which is why teenagers do it. Plus, there is more variety online than in a store. 

Many online websites claim to sell products but in reality, they are just a platform for an online shopping scam. If a teenager sees a product that is much cheaper than other retail websites, they will likely buy it from there. The problem with that is that it can be too good to be true. It could be anything, such as perfume, trainers or even new tech. All of which will entice teenagers to buy the products only to be scammed further down the line.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the more common scams because it is so easy to steal people’s pictures and pretend to be them. There are other pieces of information that they can steal, such as email, messaging apps and pop-up windows.  

One of the main reasons why scammers succeed with this is because teenagers don’t know they are giving away sensitive information. If a person online asks for personal information you do not know, you shouldn’t give them that information. 

Scammers usually reach out to you, promising fake employment opportunities, scholarships, student loans, grants, investment opportunities or even free giveaways with a false identity. All of these false promises are just there to tease you into giving them information that the scammer can then misuse. 

Instagram has been a common platform for this. How hackers will do this is tricking users into giving them confidential information that allows them to gain access to the account. Once they have access to the account, they will contact their friends and followers asking for money because they have got into financial trouble. In reality, this is the hacker messaging them rather than their friend but the victims are not aware of this. 

Talent Contests

Acting and modelling scams are also common among teenagers. Scammers will offer fake opportunities like this to attract students into giving them false information. It could involve skill-based talent contests as well, such as artwork, music, and writing, all to win money or fame; however, that is another false promise. 

In some cases, the scammer will ask the contestant to pay an entry fee. All contestants will be asked to give payment. In some cases, there will be a winner and the rest of the money will go to the scammer so therefore, it doesn’t look like they have done anything bad. That winner will often tend to be the scammer. 

Scholarships and Grant Scams

We all know that college costs can be expensive, which is why we receive scholarships and grants. However, scammers will create grant scams to lure students into giving them their identities. In some cases, scammers will ask for a fee to get your grant and if the grant is not given, they will promise to give your money back; however, they won’t. 

Other Common Types Of Cyber Fraud

There are many types of cyber fraud that a student must be aware of, even if it isn’t directly involved with education. 

Credit Card Fraud

Although there are not many students who have a credit card, it is common to get a credit card to help build your credit card. However, it is important to be aware of the different types of credit card fraud as it is highly common. Credit card details can be stolen and sold on the dark web. Criminals will use skimming devices at ATMs to gather your credit card information. To be extra safe, use your credit card for online transactions only, just to ensure your details do not get stolen. 

Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering attacks are another common type of fraud. These criminals will use psychological manipulation to receive sensitive information from the victim. What they will do is impersonate other individuals that the victim may know. Additionally, they will misuse human emotions such as fear and trust to achieve the attacker’s objectives. 


The online world is a cause for many scams and scammers know the right audience to target. That includes elderly people and teenagers. Usually, it is people who will need money. As students, we need money throughout our time at university and college, which can lead us to become desperate. 

If a scammer reaches out to them about an investment, they will likely follow the instructions. Trading scams are also common with teenagers because they are desperate for money. It is one of many scams that scammers use to promise fake returns. A common rule of thumb is that if something is too good to be true, then it likely is. 

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