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Students, don’t fall victim to scholarship scams

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It won’t be long before school starts again. As students and parents are grappling with that reality, scholarship scams multiply. This is prime time for bogus scholarship offers and high-priced scholarship assistance seminars.

Watch out for unsolicited emails from con artists who claim that they represent legitimate foundations, scholarship committees, or a university board of regents. Be sure to verify the authenticity of an organization that claims to offer scholarships before providing any personal information. Do your homework first on any scholarship assistance workshop. Although the workshop promoters may promise access to a number of scholarships, the cost of these programs typically outweigh their benefits.

Here Are the Tell-Tale Signs of a Scholarship Scam:

  • Guarantee of a Scholarship – No company or organization can guarantee the receipt of a scholarship, especially before an application is submitted.
  • Advanced Fees – There is no reason to pay upfront for a scholarship search, since there are number of free resources online.
  • Financial Information – Bank account or credit card information is not required by legitimate scholarship grantors.
  • High Pressure Sales Tactics – No matter how much the promoter claims you can receive, don’t give in to pressure to sign up for any product or service immediately. Ask for written information and then research the company and the product before committing to any contract or payment.
  • Dodging the Question – If you receive vague or evasive answers to your questions, this is a big red flag. Walk away.

For more detailed information on this type of scam, check out Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams. For free information on scholarships and more, go to StudentAid.gov.

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.

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