Some "free money" offers are too good to be true.
Students, particularly high school seniors, will be targeted by many organizations selling their products and services, including organizations that sell scholarship searches.
The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships urges families to be very cautious in paying for scholarship searches. While there are legitimate organizations that do charge a fee, there are organizations that take advantage of student and parent fears about meeting the costs of higher education. Estimates show that families lose significant amounts of money to scholarship fraud every year.
The College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act enhances protection against fraud in student financial assistance. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions students to look for these telltale lines:
- "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 of the work."
- "The scholarship will cost some money."
- "You've been selected by a 'national foundation' to receive a scholarship" or "You're a finalist in a contest that you never entered."
Students or families who think that they may have received information that could be a scam, contact the FTC at 877-382-4357 or visit their website at http://www.ftc.gov/.