News

Read blogs in our news category to find the latest news that interest college students.

Internship Scams: Protecting Yourself from Thieves

As you get further into your college career, you may find yourself looking for more practical experience outside of the classroom setting. One of the best ways to obtain this experience is through an internship. Working as an intern in a professional environment is a wonderful way to learn while earning experience future employers will appreciate.

However, there is a dark side to internships. There are people who will take advantage of college students eagerly looking for experience. If you’re on the hunt for an internship then you need to know about this common internship scam. I’ve also added some helpful tips at the end about how to spot and avoid internship scams.

Internship Scam

The Internship Scam

The  internship scam presented here follows a very common pattern. Here’s how it works:

  1. A scammer will create a posting on a communal job board. The posting is usually part-time, paid, and features the name of a reputable company.
  2. When you apply, you will receive a quick response asking for an interview. The scammer then schedules the interview to take place via a video message program (even if the company has an office near where you live).
  3. Typically, on the day of the interview your contact will say something unexpected came up and ask to complete the interview via chat software. However, some scammers conduct face-to-face video interviews.
  4. After the interview (usually short), you will receive a job offer and instructions to start training immediately. Training will involve purchasing specialized computer programs (ex. accounting software). They will offer to send you money to purchase the necessary software.
  5. They will send you check via email with instructions to print and deposit it in your bank account using your bank’s mobile application. This prevents the check from ever being in the hands of a teller who would recognize the check as fraudulent. Also, the delay time caused by mobile uploads will allow you access to the money before many banks withdraw it out of the check issuer’s account.
  6. After the mobile upload, they will ask you to go to your bank to withdraw the money in cash and deposit it into a provided bank account (typically at a different bank than yours). They will probably stress several times to complete the transaction in cash. Their reasoning is the other bank account belongs to their computer software vendor and the money is to pay for the specialized programs.

The Result

At this point, I’m sure you can guess what happens next. Your bank will try to collect money for the check you deposited and will discover the check is a fraud. The money is then removed from your account for insufficient funds. Because the money you withdrew to pay the other account was in cash, there is no way for you to rescind the payment. The representative who interviewed you will no longer answer your messages or e-mails. It all becomes clear; there was no internship and the money you paid was lost for good. I know of scams that ask for up to $2,000 under the pretense of purchasing training supplies. There are several different variations of this same scam, though this format is the most common.

Internship Scam

Tips for Spotting and Avoiding Scams

Getting caught in an internship scam is scary, but you can avoid it. Here a few good rules to follow in order to help you avoid internship scams.

  • Check the Company Website – Most scammers use the name of a big company on a job board to entice people to “apply” for the internship. Most large companies have a job board on their own website. Check the company website to see if the internship is listed. If so, apply directly on that website rather than through the job board.
  • Check the E-Mail Address – Large companies will have a dedicated e-mail address. If the person you are in contact with is using a general address it may be a scam. Example:
    • Good – johndoe@largecompany.com
    • Bad – johndoelargecompany@gmail.com
  • Never Pay Money – You should never have to pay money upfront for any internship or job.
  • Never Give Out Personal Information Online – Your never give out your social security number, bank account, or other sensitive information online. You should only give these numbers to an employer in person while you are at the place of employment.
  • To Good to Be True – If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. A part-time, work-from-home internship that pays $35 per hour should signal a red flag.
  • Get Out – If at any point during the interview process you become concerned about being scammed, get out. Politely tell the interviewer that you feel this internship is not for you. You don’t need to be rude. Simply say you don’t feel like it is a good fit and end the conversation. Protecting yourself is your number one priority.

Have any other tips for avoiding internship scam? Leave them in the comment section below!

How to Improve Your Political Efficacy

As 2016 gets nearer and the presidential election looms closer, it is more and more important for voters to be informed. For many college students, it is the first time that they will be able to vote in a presidential election. It is thus very important to be informed to make sure that you are voting for the candidate who reflects your views and who you believe will do the best job. Here are some ways to become more informed about politics on the main stage.

Join A College Political Group

politics

Most colleges have political groups for many different interests. These offer an opportunity to talk with like-minded individuals, increase political knowledge, and attend political events and speeches that many others would not have the chance to. These groups can have varying levels of involvement so check before joining or do a trial to make sure it is right for you.

Figure out your Own Stances

political-stance

Spend time reading over each topic in the internet or watching on television in order to figure out what you believe and your personal views on topics. Often your view may change slightly after reading more information and learning more about the topics.

Learn the Candidates’ Stances

political-candidates

Charisma is an important trait, but most elections come down to stances. In order to figure out who you want to vote for, you should take a look at each politician’s stances on issues that are important to you. This can help separate out the candidates that you would like to be president from those who you think would be wrong.

Attend Political Speeches and Debates

political-debates-speeches

It is much easier for college students to gain access to political speeches and debates. Try to gain access through school affiliations first of as it may be the cheapest and easiest way to get in. However, events that are not affiliated with schools also tend to allow students to attend, sometimes for a small entrance fee.

Net Neutrality- Open Internet Approved

Net Neutrality RegulationsThe Federal Communications Commission approved the policy of net neutrality for open access to the Internet.  It was a 3-2 vote. Internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, and among others can now be regulated by the Federal Government to abide by new net neutrality rules. These rules would require all legal content to be treated equally by these providers.

“The Internet is the most powerful and persuasive platform on the planet.  It’s simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

With net neutrality, Internet service providers cannot favor or block certain websites.  Net neutrality means open Internet and allows for small business and start-ups to advertise their services with a fair playing field.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Not sure you really understand it? Read What is net neutrality and what does it do for me? on www.USAToday.com.

President Obama Proposes Free Community College

Free Community College

President Obama announced his proposal for community college to be free for two years for responsible students. “Higher education should not be a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s an American issue,” Obama said. If the plan becomes fully implemented in the future, full-time community college students would save an average of $3,800 per year. Students would be eligible for free tuition if they attend the community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make progress toward their degree, according to White House officials. Obama’s proposal could benefit up about 9 million students across the nation, each year. The federal government would cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college and participating states would be expected to contribute the rest. “Students who started at community college during those two years and then go on to a four year institution, they essentially get half of their bachelors degree free,” Obama said, “It can be a game changer.” The White House stated that this plan would cost $60 billion over a span of 10 years. President Obama pitched his plan during his speech at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn.

For more information, visit here.

Sony Pulls “The Interview”

The_Interview_2014_poster
Sony Pictures cancelled the Christmas day release of the controversial movie, “The Interview” amid recent hacker’s cyber attacks and threats.
In response, Sony pictures made this statement: “In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to the show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, or of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theatergoers.”
The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a about a fictional plot for two journalists to kill the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.   In recent weeks, Sony Pictures has been the targeted by hackers, in which private emails from executives and other important documents were leaked to the public. There has been speculation that North Korea was responsible for the hacks as a form of retaliation for “The Interview.”
There are currently no plans to even release the movie on DVD or video on demand. Movie posters and billboard for the “The Interview” have been taken down all over Hollywood and Los Angeles immediately. Sony has come under criticism from Hollywood for this decision. Actor Rob Lowe said, “Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them.”