The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers that the following may be signs of a fraudulent scholarship scheme:
“This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.” – No one can guarantee you will get a grant or scholarship. Refund guarantees often have conditions attached. Before you pay, get refund policies in writing.
You can’t get this anywhere else.” – There are many free lists of scholarships. Check with your school library before deciding to let someone else do the work for you. On the Web, sites like www.finaid.org provide lists of financial aid sources.
“We’ll do all the work.” – There is no way around applying for scholarships or grants yourself.
“The scholarship will cost some money.” – Do not pay anyone who claims to be holding a scholarship or grant for you.
“You have been selected by a ‘national foundation’ to receive a scholarship” or “you’re a finalist in a contest” – That you’ve never entered. Before you send money to apply for a scholarship, make sure the foundation or program is legitimate.
Here is what to consider if you think it is a fraudulent scholarship scheme:
If you are suspicious of a scholarship offer, contact the Better Business Bureau, the State Bureau of Consumer Protection, the State Attorney General’s Office, and the State Chamber of Commerce.
You may wish to call the National Fraud Information Center at www.fraud.org to report the offer, since they pass their information on to law enforcement agencies.
If the problem involves mail fraud, call the Postal Crime Hotline at 800-654-8896