Scholarship scams target students looking for financial help

Expert says fraudsters target young people with clean credit records
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 4:52 PM EST
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InvestigateTV - reported in the academic year 2021-2022, 60% of students used scholarships. While this amount can be a lifeline for students and families, consumer experts warned about the dangers of scholarship scams when applying.

Melanie McGovern with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) said students are a prime target for fraudsters because, since most applicants are in their late teens, they have a very clean credit history.

The BBB has many tips to help avoid these scams:

  • Research and verify before responding to unsolicited emails from schools or guidance counselors
  • Don’t be afraid to call an organization directly to make sure an offer or application is legitimate
  • Work directly with your school counselor or a college financial aid office
  • Be very wary of any promise of fund from a scholarship to which you didn’t apply
  • Avoid high pressure tactics to act or pay now

McGovern advised students and parent to explore options. While some legitimate companies do charge for locating scholarship opportunities, she noted free resources are available all over the country.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also warns against scholarship scams. They shared several tops red flags for potential scams:

  • Any organization offering a guarantee on a scholarship application
  • Being asked to provide account numbers to hold a scholarship
  • Claims that you cannot get their information anywhere else

The US Department of Education(DOE) has free, comprehensive resources for anyone looking for scholarships and financial aid.