Avoiding Scams and Frauds

A Message from the Federal Trade Commission: Avoiding Scams and Frauds

Many companies advertise through flyers, campus newspapers, direct mail, and Web home pages that they can get students access to millions of dollars in unclaimed grants and scholarships. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages you to be well-informed about these companies and provides these tips:

  • Determine whether the company is actually offering a scholarship or is simply a scholarship search service. If the company claims to actually award a scholarship, be aware that most scholarship sponsors do not charge up-front fees to apply for funding, and no legitimate scholarship sponsor can guarantee that you will win an award.
  • Understand that scholarship search services do not award scholarships. These companies charge a fee to compare your profile with a database of scholarship opportunities and provide a list of awards for which you may qualify. They do not provide awards directly to applicants, nor do they help students apply for the awards. Some will list scholarships even if the application deadlines are past.
  • Don't give out credit card or bank account information on the phone or over the Internet without getting information in writing first. It may be a set-up for an unauthorized charge or withdrawal.
  • Don't forget the age-old rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!