There are times when all of us could use some extra money, and sending a child to college is often at the top of the list. Planning for college can be an overwhelming situation and can make you vulnerable because where there’s a need – there’s a scam.
While there are legitimate companies and organizations that can help you navigate the often confusing processes to secure grants and other aid, an immediate red flag that you are dealing with a scam is a guarantee or promise that you will get the money.
How it Works:
Some scam artists advertise “free grants” and lure users to contact them for more information. Others will cold call, asking basic questions to see if you qualify for a grant and then ask for your banking information so they can collect a one-time processing fee and directly deposit your money.
With scholarship and financial aid scams, some companies will claim to have programs guaranteeing a financial package and promise they’ll handle the paperwork for a fee. But remember, applying for scholarships is generally free.
In the U.S., the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the only application that determines eligibility for all federal programs and you can complete and submit it for free.
And don’t fall for a money back guarantee: once you provide your banking information to one of these fraudulent companies, they’ll start taking your money and you’ll never be able to get it back.
What to Watch For:
Read and listen for these tell-tale messages:
These rules will help you keep from losing money to these scams:
References/For more information:
The FTC on Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0082-scholarship-and-financial-aid-scams
Information on Scams from The Department of Education: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/scams
The FTC on Government Grant Scams: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0113-government-grant-scams
Visit StudentAid.gov, the U.S. Department of Education’s site for free information on scholarships for education beyond high school. You can complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov and learn about filing options at www.fafsa.ed.gov/options or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID.
College Parents of America: www.collegeparents.org
For more information, please visit bbb.org/atlanta.