There are many scholarship searches available. Some of them are excellent sources of information and others are not reputable. Review information at Scholarship Scam Alert .

In addition, telemarketing scams are on the rise. Follow the following guidelines to protect yourself:

1.    Avoid answering calls from unknown callers. Many carriers now label known telemarketing numbers as scam calls in the caller ID function of your phone, but this isn’t foolproof. It is advisable to avoid answering calls from unknown callers (if you’re not expecting a call) and to instead allow them to leave you a voicemail. While you could be receiving a legitimate call from someone you trust, most people and businesses will leave a voicemail if their message is important.

Be sure to ignore uninvited sales pitches, even from companies you already trust and do business with. You have no way to confirm their identity over the phone and caller ID can be faked. If you think you are receiving a call from a trusted person or business, use caution and/or follow tips in step #3.

2.    Do NOT give out personal information. Scammers are expert fishers. Sometimes they will try to use information they already have to get you to release even more personal information. Your best defense is to tell them nothing. Do not release your name, birthday, address, physical location, social security number, or even what color shirt you’re wearing. Every little bit of information you give to scammers can be a tool they use to harm you.

3.  Tell them you’ll call them back. If the caller insists they have to speak with you — for example, they say they’re from your bank and need to give you important information — tell them you will call them directly. At this point, fraudsters will often offer a phone number for you to call as proof they are who they say they are. Don’t believe them. Instead of accepting the phone number they offer, you’re much safer looking up the number independently. If the caller says they’re from a company you trust — such as a utility or phone company — you can also call the number on the monthly billing statement.

4.    Be extra alert. Even if you initiate the call, you might not be safe. Before you give any personal or financial information over the phone, check out the company’s credentials — especially their website footer. The website footer is a place to showcase security certificates and copyright information to demonstrate to visitors that their website is trustworthy. You may also check with the Better Business Bureau.

5.    Take your time! Scammers often try to create a false deadline. If you feel pressured to make a decision, hang up or put them on hold and give yourself some time to do some research.

Credit: adapted from “Scams and Fraud” article Ron Burley

Note: Several Colorado State University students have recently received a mailing from College Financial Advisory. College Financial Advisory is not a federal, state, or University organization. The Office of Financial Aid at Colorado State University does not recommend scholarship searches that require a fee.

Scholarship Tips

Here are a few scholarship tips that can help you get started in the right direction.

  • Be organized and be honest!
  • Follow instructions carefully
  • Proofread your application
  • Apply to as many sources as possible
  • Apply each year of attendance
  • Pay attention to deadlines – most scholarship deadlines are between December and April.

Be sure to complete the CSU Scholarship Application (CSUSA)

For more tips, see:

1. CollegeBoard

2. ScholarshipHelp


4. U.S. Scholarship Guide