Officials warn Ohio students of grant, scholarship frauds

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — College students and parents in southwest Ohio are being warned to watch out for scammers seeking to rip people off through fake scholarship and tax schemes.

“Whether it’s the first year or the final year of college, life before the beginning of the school year is busy for students,” said Sandy Guile, of the Better Business Bureau of Cincinnati. “There is little time to deal with a scam, but plenty of opportunity for a scammer to strike if a student is not paying attention.”

The organization says there are three popular scams circulating that aim to steal money or personal information from students at area schools such as Miami University and the University of Cincinnati, The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reported.

In a federal student tax scam, victims are being told they’re in trouble with the government and owe a debt. Another is leading students to believe they’ve been awarded a grant that they don’t have to pay back, but they have to cover a processing fee to claim it.

The third scheme involves fake scholarships that encourage applicants to send money upfront.

“Unfortunately, scammers have found a way to create fraudulent forms, websites, and marketing materials making claims to have ways to finance the cost of higher education at minimal or no cost,” Guile said.

At Miami, students recently were alerted to a scam in which students were told they owed “student taxes” and could be arrested if they didn’t send money.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has been warning students across Ohio about these scams and said people of all ages can be targeted.

“For a student with limited income, losing money to a con artist can be devastating,” DeWine said.