Internet scammers prey on college students

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Sean Diaz votes for Grand Valley to be the winner of the $200,000 to be put towards on campus security

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Sean Diaz votes for Grand Valley to be the winner of the $200,000 to be put towards on campus security

Hannah Lentz

The majority of internet scams look to target the elderly because they often do not have as much experience with these type of technological experiences. However, it seem these scams have a new target: college students.

These scams often take the form of a business proposal from a supposed company that wants to provide students with a job opportunity. These jobs offer flexible hours and more than acceptable pay, using salaries of almost $300 a week to draw students in.

There have been several instances of these type of scams with students at Grand Valley State University this year.

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said Brandon DeHaan, captain of the GVSU police department (GVPD).

These scammers look to create a relationship with the student they are trying to contact, DeHaan said. They identify as powerful business professions who are enticing individuals to build a false internet relationship with them. Scams can come in the form of telecommunication, Nigerian email accounts or originate from a counterfeit business.

Relating specifically to college-age students, people looking to rip-off individuals can also reply to sublet postings or reference recommendations from other sources that they have not had communication with. Technically speaking, these fraudulent postings could also be found on job posting websites such as LakerJobs or other professional sources.

“The university looks to maintain LakerJobs and ensure that all postings are legitimate,” DeHaan said. “If you suspect that there is something wrong with a posting, you should contact LakerJobs so they can remove the post.”

In a business preposition-type approach to a sham, students will be asked to take a job. The “business” will ask the person to pick up a package for them or find another way to provide the student with a check. The check will be much higher than the salary earlier discussed.

“The scammer will ask the student to take out their salary and send the rest of the money back to them,” DeHaan said. “They will ask that the money be sent back through a money transfer and usually transferred to a specific person.”

Since checks take four to five days to clear in the student’s bank account, the student will send the money back to the individual and then the check will bounce in their account meaning that they are out the money that was transferred.

There are several clues to an illegitimate email scam. For instance, there are usually misspelled words in the email communication as well as incorrect grammar. The other person in the transaction will avoid face-to-face communication and ask that you text them with questions.

“Members of the community should take responsibility in confirming that an employer is an actual employer,” DeHaan said. “If there is ever a question, they should contact the source and verify the information.”

Students and community members can also list illegitimate sources through the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center. When GVPD receives a complaint, this is where they file the information.

“They are preying on those that have less life experience, specifically around internet crime,” DeHaan said. “They throw out a wide net to locate those they think they can manipulate.”

Anyone believing they have information that should be reported to the police regarding this type of situation should contact GVPD or list their complaint at