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Don't get hooked: Scholarship scams

Advice from the Arkansas Better Business Bureau.

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

With the cost of a college education continually increasing...students and parents are searching for scholarships.

The situation has become ripe for scam artists.

The Arkansas Better Business Bureau says that keeping two things in mind as you look for help paying for a college education will help make sure that you...don't get hooked.

For students struggling to pay tuition, an unexpected offer of a grant or scholarship can seem like a dream come true.

But if you didn't apply or sign up for such financial help...chances are good that this dream will have an unhappy...and perhaps costly...ending.

"If you make contact with a company or a place to...to...have them help you, and you can...and there are legitimate ones...that's O.K,” advises Mike Rohrer with the Arkansas Better Business Bureau. “But the ones that are contacting you...these unsolicited emails, these unsolicited letters that you get promising money...and they're not going to deliver. There is going to be a problem with those."

In addition to steering clear of unsolicited offers of financial aid, Rohrer says that you should also avoid offers that require you pay a processing, handling or application fee.

With the rising cost of college...it is easy to understand why scholarship scams work.

"I don't think it's greed,” says Rohrer. “I think it is the idea that it's going to be expensive and they're kind of worried how they are going to pay for it. And nobody wants to be saddled with student loans for the rest of their life."

Rohrer says that while some search firms legitimately charge a fee for helping you find scholarships and grants, it is generally free to apply for such help if you are willing to put in the time and find the help yourself.

The BBB also advises that anyone heading for college complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Air date: April 5th, 2018

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