Scammers targeting students applying for financial aid
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - As the June 30 Federal FAFSA deadline approaches, many students searching for higher education are applying for scholarships and grants, but some of the deals are not what they seem. Scammers are preying on students during a stressful and time-sensitive situation.
“They are not really thinking about where those funds are coming from, who’s funding those opportunities,” Jace Kolar of K&K Enrichment Foundation said. “They just see a number on a screen. They will do anything they can to create that better life for themselves that they imagine, so it frustrates me to know that there are people who prey on that desire of a student. "
Jace Kolar and Zach Kallus started up K&K Enrichment Foundation at the start of this year to provide scholarships and mentorship for Central Texas students.
Kolar says it’s hard to believe scammers are targeting people who are looking for help with their finances and take more from them.
“Be aware that if someone is having to use a tactic like telling you your time is running out, if they are having to request financial information from you, it’s probably a dangerous thing for you to get involved in,” Kolar said.
Kolar says he works directly with the universities and their foundation would never ask you to pay a processing fee, use aggression tactics, or contact you with unsolicited offers.
These are exactly the types of things the Better Business Bureau is warning students about.
“It could like an email or a phone call saying you have received this scholarship or grant,” Katie Galan, BBB Regional Director, said. “Then you realize you never applied for it and they will say someone applied on your behalf.”
Galan says it’s a good idea to apply for opportunities yourself to make sure you are applying to credited sources and scammers can’t trick you into thinking they have been in contact with someone you know.
“The only things that we ask for are the school you went to, an email to communicate with you, and answers to questions about your high school experience,” Kolar said.
The BBB also warns about third-party companies that help you apply for grants and scholarships. Do your research before trusting a company and ask questions during the process from the companies that demand more than a vague answer.
The BBB has more tips to protect yourself online.
For more information about how to avoid scholarship and financial aid scams, visit FTC.gov.
For a list of financial aid service companies the U.S. Department of Education works with, visit StudentAid.gov.
If you have been a victim of a scholarship scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Information provided could prevent another person from falling victim.
Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.