Better Business Bureau says scammers are targeting students looking for scholarships to help pay for higher education.
BBB's Emily Valla says some fake scholarships ask for application fees.
"Steer clear if you see the words, 'the scholarship has a small fee.' Legitimate organizations or foundations should not require you to pay to apply for a scholarship," Valla said.
Valla says another thing to stay clear of is a scholarship that claims it's guaranteed.
"No legitimate organization, foundation, school or business scholarship is able to guarantee a student a scholarship. These false promises are one of the biggest red flags of a scam," Valla said.
BBB also says beware of advertisements for organizations claiming they'll help you with your application forms.
"While applying for scholarships, students may come across some organizations that claim to be able to complete the application form for the student in exchange for compensation or a portion of the scholarship. Scholarship applications and essays generally request personal information and writing samples, which no one but the student should be able to provide," Valla said.
If you do fall victim to a fake scholarship, BBB says it is possible your personal information could be compromised.
"It can certainly happen. Bad guys are constantly looking for ways to con us into giving too much information. Be careful if an application asks for financial account information, especially if it’s to 'secure your scholarship.' If you win, real scholarship foundations will often send a check directly to you or your school, but they’ll be upfront and clear on how to receive your award. Also be cautious of calls or emails saying you need to 'verify your identity' to receive funds," Valla said.
Each year Better Business Bureau Northwest offers the Students of Integrity Scholarship for students in our area. For more information visit www.bbb.org/northwest.