Tips for avoiding financial aid scams

Updated: Jul. 24, 2019 at 3:47 PM CDT
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FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Summer is winding down and a promising school year is right around the corner, but scammers are hard at work to cheat you out of your hard-earned money.

Heading back to class after a long summer vacation can be stressful, especially when it comes to financial aid.

That’s why fraudsters are working overtime to take advantage of those in need.

Dean of student services at Pearl River Community College Forrest County Center, Michelle Wilson-Stokes, said parents and students need to make sure they are doing their research.

“Do a google search,” said Wilson-Stokes. “Contact the Better Business Bureau. Before you give anyone money to find you what the federal government offers for free, do your research.”

A common scam is where a person posing as an IRS agent calls your phone demanding money for an unpaid federal student tax. The only problem is that the IRS says no such tax exists.

“Anytime the federal government needs anything from you, they will never call you,” Wilson-Stokes said.

She said if you are in communication with a company that’s asking for money to get a scholarship, grant or even to file your FAFSA, more than likely it’s a scam.

“If a student is getting calls like that or they’re going to websites to where they are asking them for their socials or asking them for different information, that should automatically be a red flag,” said Wilson-Stokes.

She said the best way to avoid scams all together is to contact your university’s financial aid adviser if you need help or extra money.

For more tips to keep yourself from falling victim to back to school scams, go to

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