Dept. of Education Impersonator Offers Students Phony Grants
Report fraud to ED's Office of Inspector General hotline at 1-800-MIS-USED (1-800-647-8733). Special agents in the Office of Inspector General investigate fraud involving federal education dollars.
Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has an online complaint form and a hotline at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357; teletype for the hearing impaired: 1-866-653-4261). The FTC will investigate if the fraud is deemed widespread; therefore, it is important that every student contacted by the person or people in question lodge a complaint so the FTC has an accurate idea of how many incidents have occurred.
Notify the police about any incident. Impersonating a federal officer is a crime, as is identity theft.
When filing complaints, the student should provide detailed information about the incident, including what was said, the name of the person who called, and from what number the call originated (if the student was able to obtain it via Caller ID). Additionally, if unauthorized debits have already appeared against the student's bank account, the student should mention this fact in his or her complaint. Records of such debits could be useful in locating the wrongdoer.
Click for information about identity theft prevention.
More information about preventing financial aid scams.
The Division of Financial Aid warns students to be wary of scholarship search firms that charge a fee for their services. The Federal Trade Commission has investigated numerous consumer complaints in recent years about such firms and found fraudulent activity. The Division of Financial Aid recommends the use of free scholarship search services, such as FastWeb.
SCAM WARNING SIGNS
- You have to pay a fee
- Money-Back Guarantee
- Credit Card/Bank Account Information Required
- Offers Exclusive Information
- Phony scholarship-promises cash if you pay a registration fee
- Phony scholarship matching service-pay a fee and they guarantee you will win awards
- Phony educational loan-pay a fee and receive a low interest rate
- Phony financial aid seminar-a high pressure, poorly concealed sales pitch
- Phony grant-promises to replace loans with grant if you pay a processing fee
National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
File an online complaint, 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)
To report suspected fraud, use the online consumer complaint form, call 1-888-FTC-HELP (1-202-382-4357), 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.