70° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Preventative scam workshops should be a priority

Illustration by Devon Crew

Scams targeting college students have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. The number of scam victims ages 20 and below have shown the “fastest growth rate in scam losses since 2017.”

Texas State students are vulnerable to frauds because San Marcos is located between two of the state’s most populated cities: Austin and San Antonio. Many students are drawn to Austin’s lively music scene and seek out what appear to be discounted concert tickets, while San Antonio’s booming job market serves as a haven for dishonest employment offers.

Scams aimed at college students can take many different forms, such as false requests for concert tickets via GroupMe or the widespread sale of shady items on X. Promising employment emails are frequently used as a means of identity theft, forcing students to buy fake checks or provide private information.

During the summer, Texas State disables external email alerts, resulting in phishing attacks disguised as emails from external users. Although students are taught how to spot phishing emails, there is an absence of understanding for how these frauds get beyond security safeguards.

Sophomore management major Jaymie Ramos said she is an advocate for improved spam filtering in the university’s email systems.

“As a college student always seeking additional income, I feel increasingly vulnerable to scams infiltrating my school email,” Ramos said.

In addition to being aware of phishing emails, students should use social media as a last resort for making purchases. However, if it must be done, buyers should keep their guards up.

When utilizing X for any transactions, students should only interact with merchants that utilize PayPal’s “Goods and Services” program, which is designed to ensure each transaction is secure. Any pressure techniques used by a seller should trigger red flags right away. It is also important to note that transactions should go through specialized selling accounts. If a seller’s name and PayPal details differ, the transaction should be stopped.

For universities to protect students from becoming victims of fraud, preventative steps are crucial. Prominent universities with extensive fraud prevention programs include Texas Tech and Texas A&M. Texas A&M encourages a community-driven approach to fraud awareness by giving students the authority to suggest workshop topics.

Daniela Villasenor, vice commissioner of the Student Government Association’s Diversity Commission at Texas A&M, said these workshops are vital for students.

“Students have the opportunity to learn from each other and the diversity office provides a platform for that growth. We [cover] any topic, from career to taking care of your environment, and students get to pick and choose what they want to [discuss],” Villasenor said.

The diversity program at Texas A&M provides courses on themes such as biosafety, graduate school mentorship and dealing with revision comments for writing. These various workshops help students and educators grow academically and professionally while also promoting inclusivity and interdisciplinary education.

Giving students useful tips through a platform similar to the Texas A&M workshops can help strengthen their resistance to fraud.

Awareness about scammers can be raised through specially designed courses that target certain student vulnerabilities. Students at Texas State should suggest the implementation of scam prevention courses to Texas State Involvement using resources such as the Alkek Library Workshop Suggestion page.

In addition, integrating scam prevention modules into orientation programs for incoming students could ensure scam awareness becomes a foundational aspect of their university experience. By incorporating this education early on, Texas State can instill a culture of caution and preparedness among its student body.

Texas A&M also places a heavy emphasis on fraud prevention by providing courses and orientation modules to help students. These programs provide students with tools such as hotlines to assist people who may fall victim to fraud.

At Texas State, modules should provide comprehensive information, including guidance on how to handle bank-related issues in these cases, as well as tips on safeguarding your devices against potential threats.

Additionally, through focused events and efforts, student groups may play a critical role in increasing awareness of scams. Student organizations can hold public seminars, panel discussions or awareness campaigns by collaborating with pertinent school departments and outside organizations.

Texas State should effectively combat scams and prevent students from becoming victims of fraudulent activity by implementing a comprehensive approach that integrates education, teamwork and community participation.

-Aili Ortega is a marketing senior

The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor in Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star