Scammers know that with tuition bills skyrocketing each year, in addition to school supplies, room and board, and other related expenses, that students and their families are looking for creative ways to finance college or other types of higher-level education. Has a potential school or university person asked you for “upfront fees” or did you receive a fake “scholarship check”?

If you think you or someone you know has experienced an education / scholarship scam, we recommend that you act immediately, by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover, and Reinforce sections for further assistance.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take

  • Stop all contact with that individual and/or company until you know they are legitimate.
  • Contact your bank or financial institution to close or change any compromised accounts.
  • Go to to see a copy of your free annual credit report.
  • Save all information or messages about the financial aid or scholarship opportunity that you received from the scammer. You may need to provide this information when you file a report.


Click Here to Report Your Incident to the FBI IC3

Reporting cybercrime incidents to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) via the link above is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FBI does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. FAQs about IC3 reporting can be found here. Please read the FBI/IC3 privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to

Report the Incident to the Website Where you First Saw the Opportunity

Contact the Money Service Company You May Have Used and Report the Fraud


These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside Results will vary depending on your circumstances.


Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity, using these resources and tools.

Implement Preventive Measures

  • Be aware of any offer where a scholarship is “guaranteed or your money back” or “act now or the offer will not be available.”
  • Avoid giving out your credit card or bank account information over the phone to a company representative that you have not thoroughly researched.
  • Check the applicable school’s website to determine who manages their financial aid or scholarship programs and contact them to verify the information about the opportunity.
  • Visit, the U.S. Department of Education’s website for free information on preparing for and funding education beyond high school.
  • Visit the College Parents of America’s website, an FTC approved resource, advisor, and advocate of current and future college students, or call them at (888) 256-4627.
  • Download our Six Steps to Better Security PDF.

Community Resources

Helpful Videos

FTC: Avoiding College Scams