Do Scam Artist Target Scholarship Seekers?

college_grant_scamThe answer to the title is, unfortunately, YES!

The Federal Trade Commission is warning students and their families to be on the lookout for scholarship scams. Unfortunately, there are some out there that are taking advantage of those looking for financial aid to go to college.

The FTC warn students to look for these suspicious phrases:

  • “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 the work.” “The scholarship will cost some money.”
  • “You’ve been selected by a ‘national foundation’ to receive a scholarship”
  • “You’re a finalist” in a contest you never entered.

Lucretia Phillips, recent high school graduate, says she was the victim of such a scan. “It was a frustrating experience,” she says, ” I would receive calls from someone claiming to be from U.S. Grants. It was a male, who spoke poor English, calling to tell me that I have received a grant for $10,000. He said I needed to wire him $250 in order to receive the grant.”

Most scam artist will contact someone who has recently been searching and applying for grants or scholarships. Once they have an individuals contact information they proceed to impersonate an organization that offers financial aid. They ask for the student or a family member to send money, usually through wiring, for them to grant the eligible applicant the financial aid.

Phillips continues, “My mom was the one who told me it was a scam. She said grants are funds you do not have to pay for. It was a real wake-up call for me.”

If  you are contacted by anyone claiming you have been selected for financial aid and need to send them money, copy their telephone number, name, and time they called and report them to the Federal Trade Commission. Grants and scholarships are funds you do not have to pay back.

“I went online and did a search for the telephone number they were calling from and discovered a website that allowed people to post who it is that is calling from that number. I read about 5 post saying that those people also received a call from someone from U.S. Grants asking them to send them money,” Phillip expounds.

Be wary of any offerings of funds if you have to pay them anything upfront and stay clear of any offerings stating the above phrases. The FTC works to stop and prevent deceptive business practices. Visit their website to learn more: http://www.ftc.gov   To discover more about absolutely free grants and scholarships visit, click here.

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