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Caution about Scholarship Search Offers

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The Office of Financial Aid has received a recent report of direct mail marketing aimed at students which
mentions Massasoit Community College without permission.

A student brought us a copy of a letter addressed to "(Name of student) or Parents of" from “ College Financial Advisory ”, 825 College Boulevard , San Diego, CA. The letter has pre-printed “ Massasoit Community College ” at the bottom and lists a "Student Profile Number" assigned to the student. The number is configured in the same format as a Social Security Number, xxx-xx-xxxx. The “College Financial Advisory” encourages the family to send in a "Student Aid Profile Form" along with $44 to be considered for additional aid.

The Massasoit Financial Aid Office urges students and parents to be cautious about sending personal financial information to “College Financial Advisory” or any other organization which sends you unsolicited direct mail marketing materials. Massasoit has never given any information to this organization, nor do we endorse their services. We have received no evidence that their services are effective or worth the $44 that you must pay to use them.

The Office of Financial Aid warns students to be cautious of scholarship search firms that have any of these elements:
  • You have to pay a fee
  • Money-Back Guarantee
  • Credit Card/Bank Account Information Required
  • Offers Exclusive Information
  • Promises cash if you pay a registration fee
  • Pay a fee and they guarantee you will win awards
  • Pay a fee and receive a low interest rate education loan
  • Promises to replace loans with grant if you pay a processing fee


REPORT YOUR CONCERNS TO:

National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
File an online complaint at www.fraud.org , call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-876-7060, or write:
National Fraud Information Center
PO Box 65868
Washington , DC 20035

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC has an online complaint form at www.ftc.gov/scholarshipscams and a hotline at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357; teletype for the hearing impaired: 1-866-653-4261).  Or write:
Federal Trade Commission
CRC - 240
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington , DC 20580

State Attorney General's Office
File your complaint with the Consumer Protection Division in your state.

US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
For complaints involving mail fraud, visit www.usps.com/postalinspectors (You must have an address for the questionable organization to file a complaint)
Call the Postal Crime Hotline at 1-800-654-8896 or write:
United States Postal Service
Office of Inspector General
Attention: Hotline
1735 N. Lynn Street
Arlington , VA 22209-2020

The U.S. Department of Education also reports that someone claiming to work there is offering students grants or scholarships, asking for bank account numbers so a processing fee can be charged. Sometimes the caller tells the student he or she understands the student has federal student loans and offers to replace the loans with an $8,000 grant. The caller explains that a processing fee must be charged and asks for the student's checking account information.

There is no ED program to replace loans with grants. There is no processing fee to obtain grants from ED.

The Department of Education offers this advice to students who think they may be victims of fraud:

  • Report the fraud to ED's Office of Inspector General hotline at 1-800-MIS-USED (1-800-647-8733) or oig.hotline@ed.gov . Special agents in the Office of Inspector General investigate fraud involving federal education dollars.

For more information, follow this link:
http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/scam.jsp

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