Every year students and their families lose money to scam artists posing as legitimate scholarship funding agencies. To avoid being defrauded, be cautious about suspicious scholarship offers.
Consult the Federal Trade Commission for tips, facts and reporting information. Also keep a few guidelines in mind while researching scholarships.
It might be a scam if:
- You have to spend money to get money. Legitimate scholarship providers don't charge application fees, "redemption" fees or up-front taxes; nor do they ask students to make investments.
- They want bank account or credit card information. Trustworthy donors won't ask for a credit card number to "hold" your award.
- It's guaranteed. No one can guarantee that you'll receive a scholarship, and any promise of a money-back guarantee is a red flag.
- You can't find the information anywhere else. Scholarship agencies don't keep information secret; they want to award scholarships. If a service promises to provide funds no one else knows about, be suspicious.
- You win a contest you don't remember entering. If you receive a message saying you've been selected for an award or you're a finalist in a competition you've never heard of, it might be a scam.
- It sounds too good to be true. Trust your instincts. If you're suspicious about an offer, you probably have a good reason.