Shopping for Scholarships? Don’t Be Taken In By Scams
Congratulations! You’re a finalist in our scholarship contest. All you have to do is pay this small registration fee. If you receive a notice similar to this, BEWARE. At this time of year, when students and parents are searching for any assistance they can get to help with college expenses, scam artists are busy spinning their web of deceit.
Scammers pose as scholarship providers or scholarship matching services to solicit money from you. In turn, they leave you with nothing. FastWeb, an online scholar-ship matching service, offers a few tips for spotting predators who prey on the unsuspecting consumer.
Your best rule of thumb: Financial aid should never cost you. Never invest anything beyond the cost of a postage stamp in your search for financial aid. There are a number of legitimate no-fee scholarship matching services on the Internet that match your qualifications with available scholarships.
The Money-Back Guarantee
Don’t buy this, especially if the company tries to guarantee that you will win an award. No legitimate scholarship matching service will ever guarantee that the student will win an award, nor will they promise “to do all the work” for the student.
Credit Card Verification
If they ask for a checking account or credit card number, either for verification, to confirm eligibility, or to hold the award, stop listening. Scammers use this ploy to get your financial information so they can drain your account or run up charges on your credit card.