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Scholarship Fraud

Many scholarship-locating services will tell you that millions of dollars in private scholarship money goes unused annually. The fact is, almost all available financial aid comes from the federal government or from individual colleges.More than 340,000 people are duped by scholarship fraud every year. Private scholarships are usually awarded to very specific applicants, such as students with a particular career interest, or members of a certain religious organization or church. These institutions have created funds for students. They are willing to give them to qualified people and have no interested in keeping the money a secret.You can easily learn more about these opportunities by checking with appropriate institutions. Contact organizations or clubs to determine what they look for in an applicant. Your high school or college guidance counselor can also provide information on scholarships.Beware of Scholarship FraudIf you decide to use a scholarship locater service, watch out. These scams have been around for many years. More than 340,000 people are cheated by scholarship fraud annually, losing some $5 million, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.How to spot a scholarship fraudThe Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips regarding spotting potential scholarship fraud. The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.This is an empty promise. The first red flag is that you need to send somebody money in order to get money. This is a guarantee that is easy to make but harder to honor. If it is an application that you are sending in then it means that you probably have not been awarded the scholarship. If this is the case, then how could anybody promise it to you? This does not make any sense. Anytime somebody makes a promise that is hard to keep, you should be very cautious. You can not get this information anywhere else. We need your credit card or bank account number to reserve this scholarship for you.This is a very common scam technique and anytime you hear these words, you should question it. This is identity theft under the guise of a scholarship locator service. Once the con artist has your personal information, he can empty out your bank account or make purchases to your credit card. We do all the work. The scholarship will cost money. It is understandable that you might have to pay a small processing fee when you submit your application, but this is also indicative that this is a business, a scam, or a fake scholarship program. You have been selected to receive a scholarship or You are a finalist in a contest you know you did not enter.People are rarely contacted by scholarship locator services in this manner. Normally, you send in the paperwork and then you are awarded a scholarship not the other way around. If somebody contacts you claiming to be from a scholarship locator service, and they ask you for your credit card number, be careful. Exercise safe credit card practices by NOT giving out your personal information unless you initiated the call to begin with. The caller is more interested in your personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers than giving you a scholarship. There are lots of consumer fraud schemes out there. It is up to you, the consumer, to educate yourself to recognize what is and is not legitimate. By doing so, you can minimize becoming a victim of consumer fraud crimes.

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