FTC Consumer Alert
They're waiting for you—scholarship scammers eager to separate you from your
money. Here are some of their favorite ways to entice you.
- "Free seminar." It may be legitimate or it may be a sales
pitch in disguise.
- "You can't find this information anywhere else." Yes, you
can. They don't know about anything that you can't otherwise find out on your
- "You're a finalist!" or "You've won!" a
contest you never entered. The caller is willing to hold the award funds for you
in return for your credit card or bank account number. Hang up the phone!
- "First come, first served." This may apply to some forms of
financial aid, but not to scholarships. However, legitimate scholarship sponsors
DO impose deadlines so that they have enough time to consider all the qualified
- "Millions of dollars go unclaimed." Not true! Each sponsor
predetermines award amounts and works very hard to select the applicants most
qualified to receive those funds.
- "It's guaranteed!" If the guarantee is to provide you with
search results, that's nothing more than you can do yourself. And no one but the
scholarship sponsor can make an actual award decision.
- "We'll do the work for you"—for a fee. The fee may be
nominal and the offer may come from someone sounding very official, but your
money is better spent elsewhere.