Do not be a victim of scholarship scams!
Remember that you do not need to pay anyone for financial aid or scholarship information. All of the information is available for free.
Many companies falsely claim that they can guarantee a scholarship, if only the student will pay a fee up front or provide bank account information. You should never have to pay to get scholarship money.
Pay attention to the Federal Trade Commission's cautions regarding these tell-tale lines:
- "The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."
- "You can't get this information anywhere else."
- "I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship."
- "We'll do all the work."
- "The scholarship will cost some money."
- "You've been selected by a 'national foundation' to receive a scholarship."
- "You're a finalist" in a contest you never entered.
Many unscrupulous organizations will use high pressure sales tactics to close the deal and get you to sign up and pay for their services. No respectable organization is going to force people to apply for its scholarship. If you do happen to encounter these forceful tactics and they are rushing you, just walk away.
If you are considering paying an organization:
- Consult the Better Business Bureau.
- Be wary of success stories — organizations pay people for their stories.
- Make sure you know exactly what you are going to be getting for your money.
- Be cautious if they are not answering all of your questions. Legitimate businesses want to get their information out to you and want you to know about all of their services.
- Read carefully if you are being promised a refund. Some companies make their policy intentionally misleading. Get everything in writing. But if you pay a fraudulent organization, you may never receive your refund, despite what you have in writing.
For more information on scholarship scams or to report a scam, call the FTC toll free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or go to the FTC Scholarship Scams website.