There are all too many hustlers out there trying to separate you from your wallet. From TV miracle gizmos to foreign email schemes, most of us are skeptical enough to avoid the come on. But in the gentrified world of scholarships where hard-working parents are looking for some help to cover tuition bills, some of us might not suspect a swindle in the making.
Scholarship scammers prey upon families who need money for college - which is just about everybody, so unless you're astute enough to know what pitfalls to watch for, anyone can be a potential target. But by informing yourself, you will be better able to discern legitimate scholarship opportunities from a swindle.
Generally speaking, if something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Here are some red flags that should trigger a scam alert:
"The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."
"You can't get this information anywhere else."
"I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship."
"We'll do all the work."
"The scholarship will cost some money."
"You've been selected by a 'national foundation' to receive a scholarship."
The Federal Trade Commission, which works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices, also provides lots of information to protect parents themselves from a scholarship scam shake down. There is even a link on the FTC website to file a complaint about shady scholarship programs.
So, don't get hustled. Get help.
Photo by iChaz via Flickr.