This is the time of year when high school seniors are receiving college application acceptances. It is an exciting time, but it is also a time of concern for many, if not most, families about how to pay for college. With the cost of higher education reaching unprecedented levels, college students and their families are looking for whatever financial assistance they can get and of course, scammers are quite willing to help.  It has been estimated that 350,000 students and their families are victimized by phony scholarship scams each year.  Scholarship scams include scholarship offers that you receive that require you to file an application along with an administrative fee.  Often the scholarship offer guarantees a refund of your fee if you do not receive the scholarship. The truth is that no scholarship offer that you receive in such a solicitation can be guaranteed. The scammer is just trying to steal some money or personal information from you or both. The personal information is used to make you a victim of identity theft. A similar scam involves being told that you have been selected to receive a scholarship for which you did not apply. Just like with many lottery scams where you are told you have won a lottery you have never entered, no one awards scholarships for which you do not apply. Other scammers will charge you merely for finding information about scholarships for which you might be eligible. This is a scam because you do not need to pay for such information. It is readily available to you for free.
Never pay an up-front fee for any scholarship. It is a scam. Also, do not provide a fee or personal information to someone who informs you that you have been awarded a scholarship for which you have not applied. That also is a scam. Finally, don’t pay for information about scholarship information. A good place to find a lot of helpful information about scholarships, grants and loans for college is the Department of Education’s website
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