Scholarship Scams

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Scholarship Scams

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Many scholarship offers are not what they seem. Often referred to as "scholarship scams," they offer the "promise" of scholarship funding—for a small fee—and then steal your money. When looking for a scholarship, here are some tactics and claims to watch out for:

"For a small fee, you can access hundreds of exclusive scholarships."

Some companies may promise they have scholarship information that is not available anywhere else. And for a fee (ranging from $50 to $1,000), they will share it with you.

The fact is that these companies often use the same scholarship databases that you can use for free. Don't let them take your money.

You should NEVER have to pay a fee to apply for a scholarship.

"We just need a credit card number to hold this scholarship for you."

Some companies may request a credit card or bank account number to "hold" a scholarship for you—a scholarship that you never applied for. They may say you won the scholarship in a sweepstakes or a contest and it remains unclaimed. But scholarships are not like sweepstakes…

If you have not applied for a scholarship, you are not likely to be a finalist for it.

NEVER give out your credit card or bank account information to secure a scholarship.

"Act now or lose this opportunity."

Some companies set up free scholarship or "financial planning" seminars as a way to disguise their real purpose: to promote various financial products, such as insurance. They usually end the seminar with a sales pitch to "act now or lose out on this opportunity." Don't be persuaded by the hard sell.

Legitimate organizations do not use pressure tactics to get you to make a purchase.

"Win a scholarship, guaranteed or your money back."

These scams promise you a scholarship and don't deliver. Then, when you try to get your money back, your refund request is denied. The reason for the denial? Perhaps you missed a "required" step or failed to meet an impossible-to-meet condition. Don't get duped.

Although there are more than 1.5 million scholarships available every year, a scholarship is never a sure thing.

Be Suspicious

Be suspicious of any scholarship offer if even one of the following is true:

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