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Headed to college? Beware of scammers!


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Middle Tennessee’s colleges and universities will be welcoming students back to school between now and the end of the month.

Fisk University is open Monday. Vandy, TSU, Lipscomb, and Belmont open the week of Aug. 21, while Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee open on Aug. 28

That means a lot of students and parents are frantically looking for last minute college scholarships, grants and loans. Claire Marsalis with the Tennessee’s Division of Consumer Affairs says that makes them vulnerable to scammers.

“Unsolicited offers or upfront fees or no strings attached debt forgiveness; all of those are things that should make you proceed with caution when it comes to scholarships and students loans, because those could be red flags of a scam.”

Marsalis says if you discover that you have  been scammed you should immediately contact your bank and credit institutions. They’ll likely suggest you place a watch or even a suspension on your accounts. Marsalis also recommends contacting the appropriate federal agency.

“You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which they have a website, you can search for that, or call them by phone, which is 877-382-4357.”

Of course the Tennessee Consumer Affairs office would also like to hear from you. You can get in touch with them at tn.gov/consumer.

If the person you’re dealing with tells you they’re a professional licensed by the state, you can confirm that by visiting verify.tn.gov.