September 19, 2008, Newsletter Issue #134: Many Scholarship Scams Sound Legitimate

Tip of the Week

If you received a scholarship application from the International Federation of Ripping Off Students, it would be pretty obvious that someone was attempting to dupe you into participating one of the many scholarship scams. However, college financial aid scams don’t appear to be fraudulent at first glance. Unfortunately, successful scam artists are skilled at disguising their so-called scholarships as legitimate student assistance.

Many scholarship scams have official sounding names. They often have titles that are very close to those used by legitimate foundations, scholarship search services, organizations that sponsor scholarships, and even banking institutions. Keep in mind that just because an organization has official-looking letterhead or has words like national, foundation, or federation, in its title does not mean that it is legitimate.

If scholarship scams weren’t well-disguised, 350,000 Americans wouldn’t fall victim to them each year. The business of operating scholarship scams is big business, to the tune of about $5 million dollars per year. Keep in mind that no matter how legitimate an organization may seem, if it is a legitimate scholarship resource, you will not be asked to pay any type of fee or provide banking or credit card information.

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