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Scholarships Scams

The Division of Financial Aid warns students to be wary of scholarship search firms that charge a fee for their services. The Federal Trade Commission has investigated numerous consumer complaints in recent years about such firms and found fraudulent activity. The Division of Financial Aid recommends the use of free scholarship search services available at your local library and on the internet at www.fastweb.com. For more information, see the Scholarship Scams Tip Sheet released by FastWeb.

SCAM WARNING SIGNS

  • You have to pay a fee
  • Money-Back Guarantee
  • Credit Card/Bank Account Information Required
  • Offers Exclusive Information

COMMON SCAMS

  • Phony scholarship-promises cash if you pay a registration fee
  • Phony scholarship matching service-pay a fee and they guarantee you will win awards
  • Phony educational loan-pay a fee and receive a low interest rate
  • Phony financial aid seminar-a high pressure, poorly concealed sales pitch
  • Phony grant-promises to replace loans with grant if you pay a processing fee

REPORTING SCAMS

  • National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
    File an online complaint at www.fraud.org, call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-876-7060, or write:

    National Fraud Information Center
    PO Box 65868
    Washington, DC 20035

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    To report suspected fraud, visit www.ftc.gov to use the online consumer complaint form, call 1-888-FTC-HELP (1-202-382-4357), or write:

    Federal Trade Commission
    CRC - 240
    600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
    Washington, DC 20580

  • State Attorney General's Office
    File your complaint with the Consumer Protection Division in your state.

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
    Report business fraud, or ask for information about a company. Visit www.bbb.org (You must have an address for the questionable organization to file a complaint).

  • US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
    For complaints involving mail fraud, visit www.usps.com/postalinspectors. To file an online complaint, call the Postal Crime Hotline at 1-800-654-8896 or write:

    United States Postal Service
    Office of Inspector General
    Attention: Hotline
    1735 N. Lynn Street
    Arlington, VA 22209-2020