Top 5 Biggest College Scams

There are scholarship scams, diploma mills, fake schools, and other fraudulent organizations and people who try to scam others out of their money these days. You must be careful when applying to online schools, for scholarships and financial aid, and when making transactions online – make sure your information is safe!

Here are 5 of the Biggest College Scams:

5. University of Missouri Email Harvesting Scam

Between 2001 and 2004, two former University of Missouri students operated a national email scam that included over 2,000 colleges and universities, where they illegally collected over 8 million student email addresses. The spammers used these to send targeted spam emails to sell products and services, earning them $4.1 million. They used the University of Missouri computer network to send out the massive amounts of emails, and even after they were discovered the spammers continued to email students at other schools.  Four people were charged in the incident under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which says email fraud is a federal crime.

4. Purdue Textbook Scam

A student at Purdue University created 568 fake seller accounts on Half.com. He  advertised that textbooks were on sale for all of the fake Half.com seller accounts, so buyers sent in over $5.3 million dollars, thinking they were receiving textbooks for cheap. The student wired the illegally obtained funds back to his bank accounts in Malaysia. The scam was discovered once none of  the buyers received any of their textbooks.

3. Las Vegas Woman Scams $1 million in Student Aid

From January 2000 to March 2004, a Las Vegas woman (along with her 4 children and 3 grandchildren) obtained personal information from over 65 people, and used it to apply for federal student loans and grants for distance learning schools in several states. The financial aid checks were sent through the mail, and the funds were obtained with false identification documents. A financial aid officer noticed that many students were applying for financial aid using the same addresses and phone numbers, so the scam was discovered.

2. Terrorists Enroll in Fake Colleges to gain Student Visas into the UK

A Pakistani gang set up fake colleges in the UK, which allowed men from al-Qaida to enroll and gain entry on student visas. The students were able to stay in Britain longer, and the gang made almost £2m in less than two years from fake diplomas and fake tuition fees. 8 terrorist suspects were arrested in April 2009 for a bomb plot in Manchester and Liverpool. The suspects all came from the same “college”. All of the fake colleges that the authorities investigated in the UK were controlled by 3 young Pakistani businessmen, all of which entered the UK on a student visa.

1. Student Loan Scandal:

In 2007, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo uncovered illegal practices and conflicts of interest between colleges and student loan lenders. Revenue-sharing agreements with multiple colleges, as well as perks for the financial aid officials in exchange for placement on preferred lender lists were discovered. Some financial aid officials also owned financial stake in the loan companies they were promoting to their students. In 2007, the Student Loan Sunshine Act was passed which included provisions banning gifts, perks, and revenue-sharing agreements between student loan lenders and schools.

It’s crazy to think about how some people can get away with such extreme scams. Protect yourself and don’t become a victim when you are applying to schools and financial aid!

Check out more information on scholarship scams: Top 10 Scholarship Scams

Source: CampusGrotto.com, http://www.campusgrotto.com/the-10-biggest-college-scams-of-all-time.html

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