Scholarship Scam Warning Signs
- Fees: Scammers use bogus fees such as "application," "disbursement," "redemption," and "processing fees" as a way to take your money. Scholarships should not require any fees.
- Credit Card or Bank Account Information Needed: Never give credit card or bank account info to receive aid. If you have, call your bank or credit card issuer immediately.
- Scholarship Guarantee: No one controls the judges' decisions. Be wary of "high success rates," which often reward to award matches, not award winners.
- No Work Involved: Legitimate scholarship applications require time. No one should complete them for you.
- No Contact Information: Be sure to confirm the sponsor's contact info. They should supply a valid e-mail, mailing address and phone number upon request.
- Unsolicited Scholarships: If you are called to receive an award for which you never applied, be alert. Ask where the sponsor got your contact information.
- Pressure Tactics: Never allow yourself to be pressured into applying for a scholarship, especially if the sponsor is asking you to pay money up front.
- Claims of "Exclusive" Scholarships: Legitimate sponsors will not restrict knowledge about their award to a single service.
- An Official-Sounding Name or Endorsement Does NOT Automatically Mean Legitimacy: A sponsor may use words like "national," "education" or "federal" or have an official looking seal, but might still be a scammer.
- Your Questions Are Not Answered Directly: Proceed with caution if you are not given a straight forward answer from a sponsor regarding their application, what will be done with your information or other questions.
- Be wary of any scholarships that have the following phrases:
- "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
Found a Scam? Been Scammed?
If you do find a scam or become a victim, contact local law enforcement and any of the following organizations:
National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
Ph: 1-800-876-7060, Web: www.fraud.org
United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
To report scams found vial postal mail:
Ph: 1-800-654-8896 Web: http://about.usps.com/forms/ps8165.pdf
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Be sure to have the address of the company about whom you are filing the complaint.
Ph: 1-703-276-0100, Web: www.bbb.org
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Fill out an online complaint form or call toll-free:
Ph: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) Web: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts