BBB introduces class to teach teens how to not become victims of scams


Children go to school to learn and now there’s one class helping teach kids how to avoid becoming victims of scams.

It’s called Scambusters and is being taught in schools all across the area. 

When it comes to scams you can never be too young to learn about them.

That’s why the Better Business Bureau has gone back to school to try and teach our teens how to avoid being ripped off

Recently, Kristen Hermida’s civic’s class at Wake Forest High School was not about government, voting, and taxes— it was about the economics of the rip-off.

Scams are a growing problem. The BBB says “it’s a 50-billion dollar industry and 18-24 year-olds are the most targeted group”.

That’s because they are always connected to the internet & online and as a result, they lose the most money to scams.

“Most people think they’re invulnerable and that it happens to other people,” says Steve Fromme of the BBB of Eastern North Carolina. “But, in fact, 1-in-4 people are affected by scams.”

Scammers gravitate towards youngsters, like students, because they’re earning money for the first time and lack the sophisticated knowledge that could help them see through a scheme to defraud them.

During the Wake Forest High School session, Fromme showed the students a supposed warning email from Apple with a glaring error.

“Show of hands,” he said. “How many think Apple can afford proofreaders so they wouldn’t misspell their own name?” 

Almost every student put up their hands in agreement.

Using visual aids of real-life scam examples, the Scambusters course has the kids compete in teams–like a giant board game to learn how criminals can try to defraud them.

From fake email alerts to phony websites—the kids caught on quickly.

“With this presentation, I think I’m more ready to see what a scam is and what’s not,” said student Jesus Mendoza when the class was finished.

For the students, it was an invaluable education.

“If I didn’t have this lesson, I’d have probably got scammed,’’ admitted student Bryce Davis.

Originally designed for high school students—the scam buster program has been so successful it’s now being presented to middle schoolers as well as senior citizens.

And although it was developed by the BBB of Eastern North Carolina, that branch of the agency has shared it with other BBB offices around the county—which have created their own versions of the Scambusters classroom program.

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