It’s that time of year again to fill out your federal financial aid forms for school — and scammers know this. So, as you fill out your 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA), be cautious not to fall victim to scammers who want your money, or to get into your account and steal your information.
Many states and schools give out funds on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you’re looking for financial aid for college or career school, fill out your FAFSA form as soon as you can at https://fafsa.gov/.
But, during this process, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that scammers will be out trying to take advantage of those seeking financial aid. Scammers may tell you they can help you get more financial aid if you apply through them — for a fee. Don’t do it. Scammers may also use false information about your family’s income, assets, and benefits to qualify you for more aid than you’d get if they told the truth.
Keep in mind that having someone fill out your FAFSA form using false information could get you into trouble, and you could face fines or even jail time, according to the FTC. Further, filing a FAFSA form is free to do yourself, so never pay someone to fill out the form for you. The FTC also advises to:
- Never share your FSA ID — the information you use to log in to fill out your FAFSA form — with anyone, as scammers could use that information to get into your account and steal your identity
- Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
- Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center if you need more help with your FAFSA form at 1.800.433.3243 or visit studentaid.gov