Aug. 9, 2018
As Michiganders prepare for the upcoming fall semester and pay their college tuition bills, the Michigan Department of Treasury’s MI Student Aid Team is asking students and their families to be alert and informed when being offered financial assistance in the forms of loans and scholarships.
“Students must be very careful when being solicited for assistance with their financial decisions, especially when it pertains to loan assistance,” said Acting Deputy State Treasurer Anne Wohlfert, head of Treasury’s State and Local Finance Group. “Scammers are taking advantage of those who are vulnerable—and we are seeing more cases of this now than ever before.”
The cost of college has outpaced the average income, making it harder for students to pay their tuition bills. Scammers take advantage of this situation and attempt to steal money out of students’ pockets when students seek financial assistance.
In a typical student loan scam, a scammer will ask for banking information from a student searching for loans.
The scammer typically claims they will use the information to make a direct deposit into the student’s account in return for upfront fees paid through gift cards. Instead, the scammer accesses the student’s banking account and withdraws funds.
Students should also be wary when applying for scholarships that require payment or include language that guarantees a scholarship or their money back. These are also typically scams.
There are free services available to search for scholarships. Students should take advantage of those services and avoid paying for others.
“As a rule of thumb, I recommend that students never provide personal identifiable information when applying for scholarships,” Wohlfert said. “This includes banking, credit card and Social Security information.”
To learn more about financial aid and other ways to afford college, go to www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid or contact MI Student Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-888-447-2687 or follow @mistudentaid on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat.
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