Avoiding financial aid scams.
My first year of college I was invited by a person from my dorm to attend a sales presentation. When they said that I would receive a FREE glass beer mug I agreed. I attended the presentation, thinking that I would stay only long enough to get my mug. It turned out that the mugs got handed out last, so I stayed. First, they showed waterless cookware. Then for no additional cost, again free they would add; fine China; flatware and crystal wine goblets. He explained for an extremely limited time, this evening only, he could sell all of this for the same price as just the cookware. Wow! What a bargain! I remembered that I came for the free beer mug asked for it. I was assured that I would receive my beer mug shortly. Any objections that I had were quickly answered by an explanation or additional appeals. That’s a lot of money, it’s only fifty-two cents per day. You will establish and improve your credit, very mature. I said that I wanted to think about, to ask my dad what he thought, again urgency and you are an adult you can make your own decisions. You will have a ‘AAA’ Credit rating. I caved and ordered everything. When the payment book arrived in the mail from “AAA Finance Co.” I knew that I had been misled.
So, I learned a lot about finances and even scams from this process. Many scams have themes or characteristics. One is they provide a false sense of urgency; you must do this now. Limited time offer.
Often the process starts with an unsolicited social media post, email or a letter. You have been selected for a special offer. A call back number is available or a workshop about financial aid. This will open the door for the high-pressure sales techniques mentioned above. Don’t pay for something that you can get for free. Or at least make sure that is worth the cost of convenience. Be leery if they promise financial aid.
Don’t release personal or private information such as bank account numbers, credit card or social security numbers. Some legitimate entities may need some of that information however never on an unsolicited contact or form. Always take the appropriate steps to protect your identity.
If you think about it scholarships are trying to help others that meet certain criteria by giving them money, they rarely charge for that. Grants are money given to students that meet certain criteria as well.
FAFSA forms are available online student at studentaid.gov. Often, schools and organizations offer help in filling them out. A safe place to check for possible financial aid is at the institution that you plan on attending.