Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator
Right about now many of you are on the hunt for scholarships for the coming school year. And why wouldn’t you be? There are great resources out there to utilize such as www.fastweb.com and www.scholarships.com! But some scholarship resources aren’t quite as friendly. The Federal Trade Commission has investigated numerous consumer complaints in recent years about such firms and found fraudulent activity.
What are some fraud warning signs to keep your eye out for?
-You are required to pay a fee to apply
-A “money-back guarantee”
-The application requires credit card/bank account information
-Offers “exclusive” information
What are some common scholarship 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
How do you report a scholarship scam?
National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
File an online complaint at www.fraud.org, call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-876-7060
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)
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).
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