Identity Theft and Scams: Cover Your Assets
When it comes to avoiding theft and fraud, there is no substitute for establishing good habits for:
- handling your personal information
- being vigilant when conducting financial transactions
- having a healthy dose of skepticism when asked to pay a fee for services, applications, or any “opportunities” that seem “too good to be true”
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country and we are all potential targets. While no one can guarantee that you won’t be victimized, understanding as much as you can about how these criminals operate can reduce your vulnerability.
“Protect your Social Security number and other personal information. Don’t let identity thieves rob you of your educational future!”
John P. Higgins, Jr., Former Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education
- What is identity theft?
- How does it happen?
- How can I reduce my risk?
- What should I do if I become a victim?
Find answers to these important questions at the links below:
Criminal scam operations prey on students trying to get money to help with college expenses and many others including the elderly and anyone they can catch off guard.
How can you tell the difference between a scholarship scam and a legitimate scholarship program? Most legitimate scholarship programs are earnestly trying to give their money to candidates who meet their eligibility criteria. How can you tell the difference between a legitimate email and a phishing email? Use the resources listed below to guide you to a better understanding of how to avoid phishing emails, scams, and other cyber abuse.
Usually, there is no fee to apply.
Similarly, the best online scholarship search services do not charge a fee.
For additional resources on how to avoid scams visit:
Financial Aid Consultants
“It’s morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money.”
W. C. Fields
Many financial aid consultants are highly trained professionals offering valuable guidance at reasonable rates to students attempting to navigate the sometimes complex financial aid application process. However, those who charge excessively high fees, claim that they can guarantee you’ll receive financial aid, or make other unrealistic promises should be avoided. Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Before agreeing to hire a financial aid consultant, check them out with the Office of the Inspector General or with the Better Business Bureau.
For additional information about financial aid consultants and how to access free help with financial aid, visit Federal Student Aid and the College Board’s bigfuture website.