Have a question for Fight Back?
Just log on to www.fightback.com or email email@example.com. Questions and
answers of the greatest interest to Costco members will be used in this column
(with the permission of the contributor) and will be posted on www.fightback.com.
© 2013 AMANDA HOROWITZ MEDIA, LLC ALL RIGH TS RESERVED
MANY STUDENTS USE scholarships as a way to
pay for college. But beware of fraudsters trying to
scam your family out of money while you’re looking
for ways to save. Protect yourself from scholarship
scams by being aware of these potential signs.
Official-sounding doesn’t mean it is
Scam artists often pose as legitimate scholar-
ship organizations by using official-sounding
names containing words such as “Federal,” “National”
If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a
scholarship, James A. Boyle, a representative of
College Parents of America ( www.collegeparents.org),
a national membership organization for college par-
ents, suggests checking out a scholarship organiza-
tion by making sure it’s endorsed by reputable
sources. Boyle recommends the Colorado-based
National Scholarship Providers Association or
Minnesota-based Scholarship America, which
manages scholarship programs for hundreds of
companies and other entities.
Fees and guarantees
Costco member and financial aid expert Mark
More in archives
Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors, a network of
websites offering educational resources for students
and parents, says, “If you have to pay money to get
money, it’s probably a scam.”
Legitimate scholarship providers don’t require
you to send in application or processing fees. Beware
of scholarship matching services that guarantee they
will find you a scholarship or give you your money
back. Boyle warns, “The word ‘scholarship’ has
become ubiquitous for any type of aid. It has become
synonymous with any form of tuition discounting.”
So in other words, he says, to fulfill its obligation,
“a company offering a money-back guarantee for a
scholarship could just provide you with a list of loan
On Costco.com, enter “Connection”;
at Online Edition, search
How do you protect your
aging parents from getting
ripped off? Brian J. Stiger,
director of the Los Angeles
County Department of
Consumer Affairs, shares
• Enroll your parents in the
Federal Trade Commission’s
National Do Not Call Registry
to reduce the number of
unwanted telemarketing calls
they receive. Be sure to register both their cell- and home
phones. Visit www.donotcall.
gov for more information.
• Take them to seminars
and workshops aimed at
teaching seniors about
• Check their credit report
periodically at www.annual
creditreport.com to detect if
they have been victims of
• Talk about the option of
placing a security freeze on
their credit report with the
major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion,
Equifax). A security freeze
may reduce the chances of
becoming a victim of identity
from being able
to open new
but there are issues to consider before obtaining one.
Contact your state, city or
county consumer protection
office for details. C
“Free” seminars and interviews
“We do the work for you”
It sounds appealing to have a company search for
and apply for scholarships on your behalf, but in reality you can’t avoid putting significant time, energy
and work into applying for scholarships yourself.
Preference to first applicants
One of the ways scam artists hook you is to say a
scholarship is given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Kantrowitz says, “Legitimate private scholarships do
not give out money on a first-come, first-served basis.
They usually have many more applicants than funds.”
Scholarships put on hold
Getting your credit card or bank account information is often the goal of scholarship scammers,
and they try to get it by saying it can be used to put
your scholarship on hold. Don’t be fooled.
Lack of information on previous recipients
What you can do
Free information is available from your high
school guidance office, at www.studentaid.ed.gov
and www.fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm or by calling 1-800-
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of
Inspector General also hosts a fraud-awareness
website with scholarship scam information at www.
Please note we are not licensed professionals in any ;eld.
If you are seeking advice you should consult with your
own licensed professional. We do not assume any liability
or responsibility for the interpretation, application or
accuracy of any information provided.
David Horowitz is
a leading consumer
Horowitz is the
CEO of Fight Back!
and co-founder of
Email David and
Amanda at info@
The Identity Guard service offered
to Costco members monitors the
data on a member’s ;les at the
credit bureaus every business day
and has dedicated Identity Theft
Victim Assistance agents. For more
information, go to Costco.com and