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Scammers On Prowl For Students And Families Seeking Financial Aid

James McDowell

As families prepare college applications and research financial aid opportunities, officials are warning them to avoid scams through online ads and seminars.

Credit James McDowell / Flickr.com

The Federal Trade Commission says some companies are charging $1,000 or more to help people find college money.  Some even guarantee customers will score a grant or scholarship, if they pay up front.

But much financial aid information can be found elsewhere for free, warns  Beth Anne Steele of the FBI’s Portland Division.

“Don’t let anyone rush you or pressure into paying money to a service to help you find a scholarship," Steele tells KLCC.  "If that company is legitimate, then it will still be there tomorrow or the next week.”

People are warned to do their homework and read the fine print before agreeing to pay for scholarship services. And be wary of companies that charge “processing fees” when it comes to government grants. 

The FBI says if you've been victimized by a scholarship or grant scam, to report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, or call your local FBI office.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Copyright 2018 KLCC

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. He is a 20-year reporter who has worked at NPR, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including three Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award in 2012.