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Even in a slumping economy, the cost of a college education continues to rise, and college-bound students and their parents are seeking any financial assistance they can get. However, there are financial frauds and scholarship scams out there that parents and students of which parents and students should be aware.

If you’re researching college education financing, make sure you’re aware of some of the warning signs of a scam. You shouldn’t have to pay a fee for a scholarship, you should apply for scholarships yourself, and you should not have to offer up credit card or bank account information to receive funding. For more warning signs, read this Consumer Advisory (PDF).

As with any case of potential financial fraud, if you think you are a victim, make sure you contact your bank or credit card company, explain the situation, and request that your account be closed or monitored. If you think you’ve received a fraudulent offer, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and the Attorney General’s Office. You can report the fraud to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Fraud Information Center.

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