HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV)-- State leaders are warning students about 'scholarship scams'. Victims are sometimes losing thousands of dollars because of these fake websites.
Local computer specialists say it's a problem not only happening across the world, but right here in our backyard.
Currently, students are moving back into colleges across the Valley. They are packing their bags and preparing for the start of classes.
For students like Patrick Swanson, receiving scholarships is the only way he can afford college. This is a reality many students across the Valley are dealing with in today's economy.
"I need that money, and the fact that my money could be taken away from me instead of getting that money...it's really scary," said Swanson.
A new warning that has come out from the Federal Trade Commission cautions students to be weary before trusting a website.
They should look out for things like: application fees, guaranteed winnings, and requests for personal information.
This is a warning local computer specialists, like Kamron Counts, says he sees on a daily basis. He says the majority of people stopping by his store are victims of these fake websites.
"When you have a bunch of viruses on your computer from there, your security is compromised, your credit card information could be compromised; if not your identity itself," said Counts.
Counts says he's now paying close attention to it as he returns home, and prepares for the upcoming school year.
Here are some tips to prevent yourself from falling victim to this scam:
you should never have to pay a fee to apply for a scholarship, and if the form says no work is needed to apply...it's probably a scam.
Do you know of a scam or rip-off? Are you a victim of one?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll follow up to make sure the people behind them are held accountable, and your family is safe.