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Avoiding Scholarship Scams

Scam artists are everywhere. Among their targets: students seeking scholarships. It can be easy to get tricked. Follow these guidelines to help you separate scam scholarship sources from the real deal:

  • Never pay a fee for scholarship searches or scholarship application information.
  • Don’t give out your credit card or bank account numbers. Scam services will tell you they need this information to “hold” your scholarship. Real sources will never ask you for that information.
  • Don't believe in "guarantees" or other promises. If the promise of scholarship help sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If you receive notice that you've been selected for a scholarship from an organization you've never heard of, or that you've won a contest you never entered, don't respond.
  • Do a quick online search for the scholarship name or organization with the word “scam.” Others may have been victims of the same tactics, so learn from the experiences of others before you put yourself at risk.
  • Contact your financial aid office for guidance if you have any questions or doubts about a source of scholarship information.

Here's the truth: Real scholarships never charge fees. They don’t guarantee anything upfront. The information about applying for them is available to everyone.

If you have any questions or doubts about a source of scholarship information, check it out with your school's financial aid office.

If you believe you’ve responded to a scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your state attorney general.

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