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Beware the 'Guaranteed' Scholarship Scam

May 12, 1997|THE WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON — Financially strapped parents of college students can be ripe pickings for bogus scholarship search schemes that guarantee financial aid for a paid-in-advance fee.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission took action against two such con artists who operated under several aliases from mail-drop "offices" in the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas.

The FTC alleged that the defendants sent out at least 1,000 letters a day to students nationwide. Using company names such as the "National Science Program" and the "National Law Scholarship Program," they fraudulently claimed to administer a scholarship program or foundation that selected students to obtain educational funding.

Consumers suckered into sending the $10 fee received "very little or nothing" for their money, reported the FTC, and none received refunds despite the money-back guarantee.

More information on the FTC's "Project $cholar$cam," designed to educate the public and stop scholarship-related fraud, and other FTC news is available at the commission's Web site, http://www.ftc.gov, or by calling (202) 326-2222 (TTY: [202] 326-2502).

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