student locking computerThere are various internet scams that parents can protect their student(s) (and themselves) from. In fact, you can expect that new ones and different slants on old ones will continue to appear. Here are some common ones:

  • Phishing Scams: This is when scammers try to obtain personal information such as passwords, credit card information, or social security numbers. They often do this by sending emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or school, and ask the recipient to provide sensitive information.
  • Tech Support Scams: This is when scammers pretend to be from a legitimate tech support company, such as Microsoft or Apple, and offer to fix a non-existent problem with the student’s computer. They then charge an exorbitant fee for their services.
  • Social Media Scams: This is when scammers create fake social media profiles or pages to trick students into clicking on links that lead to malware or other harmful websites.
  • Scholarship Scams: This is when scammers offer fake scholarships or financial aid opportunities in exchange for personal information or payment of a fee.
  • Online Shopping Scams: This is when scammers create fake online stores or auction sites to sell fake or non-existent products. They then collect payment and disappear, leaving the student without the product or their money.

Please educate yourself and your students(s) about these and other scams you learn about. Make sure they understand the importance of protecting their personal information and not sharing it with strangers online. 

Finally, encourage them to ask for help if they’re unsure about something they see or receive online. Scams (suspicious or real) can be reported to several different government agencies:

  • Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). Consumers can file a complaint online through their website.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC handles various consumer protection issues, including online scams. Consumers can report scams on the FTC website at
  • Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG): APWG focuses on combating cybercrime, including phishing scams. They encourage individuals to report phishing attempts through their website.
  • Local Law Enforcement: If you believe you’ve been a victim of a scam, it’s a good idea to report it to your local law enforcement agency. They may provide guidance on additional steps to take.
  • The Platform or Website: If the scam occurred on a specific platform or website (social media, online marketplace, etc.), report it to the administrators or customer support of that platform.

When you report the details, you want to include as much as possible, including the nature of the scam, any relevant URLs, emails, or contact information, and any other pertinent information that can assist in the investigation.