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By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews, APUS
We are in the middle of Financial Aid Awareness Month, so it is a perfect time to make sure that our students stay mindful of maintaining the security of their financial information.
One way to ensure that your financial information remains secure is to stay abreast of financial aid scams. Scammers are cunning and like to prey on students who have low financial literacy.
Five Ways to Avoid Financial Aid Scams and Fraud
Here are a few ways you can make sure you do not become a victim of financial aid scams and fraud:
- Never provide your personal information to anyone whose identity you have not verified. This information includes your Social Security Number, your date of birth and any other personally identifying information, such as your bank’s name and account number.
- Do not feel like you have to pay someone to help you with the financial aid process. Remember, FAFSA stands for the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid. Our advisors will be more than happy to walk you through the processes for applying for financial aid.
- Do not allow someone else to enroll you in school. You should only enroll in school if you plan to obtain a certificate or degree. Enrolling for non-educational reasons makes you a party to fraud, which carries heavy legal penalties.
- Always check with a financial aid advisor at your institution before providing information for a scholarship. The advisor can determine if that scholarship is recognized by your school.
- If you have questions about anything financial aid-related, reach out to an advisor at your school. They are the best resource for anything you may need clarified.
Financial aid thieves are a constant threat who take advantage of vulnerable individuals. Take the time to boost your financial literacy; it will then be easier to steer clear of financial aid scams and frauds in the future.