BBB Warns College-Bound Students of Campus Card Scam

July 21, 2008
As high school seniors prepare for college this fall, many will try to take advantage of their enthusiasm and inexperience. The Better Business Bureau in Lexington, Kentucky issued a recent alert to advise college-bound students who are being targeted by one such deceptive offer.

An official-looking mailing, sent to high school seniors by a New Jersey corporation doing business as the "National College Registration Board" (NCRB) states that a so-called "Campus Card" is "required for many services and purchasing privileges at whichever college or university [the] student chooses to attend."

The mailing states that for a fee of $25 the student will receive the "Campus Card," which will entitle him or her to a debit account as well as discount privileges. While this may or may not be true, the "NCRB" is in no way affiliated with any university, and the "Campus Card" is not required for enrollment anywhere. In fact, these services (a debit card account and discount privileges) may be obtained through any board or credit card issuer that offers these services.

"The problems is, this organization is trading on the anxiety of college student and their parents," says BBB President Tracey McLarney. "By its official looking stationery, the NCRB implies a connection with the student's university or with the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. There is no such connection."

The "NCRB" has also asserted a connection with the National Association of College and University Business Officers, which that group has denied.

Before responding to the NCRB offer, or any offer from an unfamiliar company, the BBB suggests that students and parents contact their local BBB for a report or general information.

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) estimates that 5,800 students nationwide have been victimized by this scam. Thirty-six Attorneys General have negotiated a settlement with NCRB. For information on states participating in the settlement, visit the NAAG web site.