Scholarship Scams

30 Mar

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator

man hiking in woods; text overlay: How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

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 and!  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, call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-876-7060

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

To report suspected fraud, visit 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 (You must have an address for the questionable organization to file a complaint).

For complaints involving mail fraud, visit To file an online complaint, call the Postal Crime Hotline at 1-800-654-8896

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