"It’s one of the oldest cons around. Come up with the cash to pay a small fee up front, and there is a big pot of money just waiting for you," Acorns reports.
"You might recognize this classic grift from some of its common versions, which often appear out of the blue in your email inbox. Your long-lost uncle has named you in his will! You won an overseas lottery! Or that timeless classic—a Nigerian prince needs your help getting cash out of his country!
The name for these is 'advance fee scams,' and unfortunately for college students, there is another variety: The scholarship scam.
The promise goes like this: Send in an application fee, along with all your personal information, and your scholarship is virtually guaranteed!
The reality is less rosy. The fraudster pockets the fee—and maybe even swipes your identity.
'The whole financial aid process is confusing for families, because many of them have never gone through it before,' says Justin Draeger, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. 'And some people look to take advantage of that. There is always a healthy market in the arena of fraud.'"
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Publication Date: 3/20/2019