The National Honor Roll Scam

UPDATE: Since this article was posted,new information about the NHR has come to light. To read this information, click here.
These happy students are smiling because they have been inducted into the National Honor Roll. The National Honor Roll is NOT the same as the National Honor Society, a legitimate organization that recognizes academic excellence.

The National Honor Roll is a marketing scam.

THE SCAM

Today, we received a letter from the National Honor Roll, offering my oldest daughter the opportunity to be inducted into the Roll. My daughter’s school’s name was featured prominently on the letter, lending it an air of legitimacy, and at first making us think the letter had come from her school.

Of course, in order to be inducted into the National Honor Roll, my daughter must complete a detailed survey about her interests. If we want, we can buy the book that will list her name and bio. We can give the Honor Roll addresses of her grandparents who may want to buy the book. We can add a picture to your profile, but that will cost extra.

“Please”, I hear you thinking. “Don’t tell me you fell for that!”

Of course, I didn’t fall for it. As Jean Hagan said in Singing in the Rain: “Wadda’ think I am? Dumb or somethin’?”

But that’s not the real scam, you see. It’s just the tip of the iceburg. Because the National Honor Roll is a front for a nationwide mailing list of young high school students. A mailing list that the Honor Roll and its partner organizations then sell for profit to whoever will buy.

Each year, thousands of unsuspecting high school students are offered induction into the National Honor Roll. What is the qualification for this prestigious award for academic excellence? Not too stringent – a B average or above.

Here’s a link to the privacy policy of the National Honor Roll, and here’s what it says: From time to time, National Honor Roll may combine the information we receive online with outside records to enhance our ability to offer you products or services that may be of interest to you.

THE SCAM BEGINS IN YOUR CHILD’S CLASSROOM

How does the National Honor Roll find out your child’s name, address and personal information? Your child’s school provides it. That’s right. The school provides it, along with data mined from your child as part of in-class surveys handed out and collected by your child’s teacher. In my daughter’s case, she now remembers being asked to complete a survey in her Math class earlier this year. She was told it was for college.

I can’t entirely blame my daughter’s teacher (Well, I do blame him a bit). Most likely he thought that the survey results were being used to offer his students scholarships and college information. The surveys are sent to teachers from a “non-profit” organization called the Educational Reseach Center of America. ERCA is associated with something called the Student Marketing Group.

SMG is a direct marketing company that targets the youth market. ERCA does the dirty work for SMG, sneaking into our schools to mine our children’s personal data, all in the name of harmless surveys. To keep up their front, ERCA does publish the results of these surveys on their web site, and claims to send them to colleges, who probably file them in the wastebasket.

Here’s a link to ERCA’s privacy policy, and here’s some of what it says: Personally identifiable information also will be made available to certain other entities nationwide that wish to contact high school students or to help others do so. .. these include businesses that market interesting products and services to students and student achievement recognition organizations.

THE LEGAL RESPONSE

Elliot Spitzer filed for judgement against ERCA and SMG in 2003 for fraudulent and deceptive business practices. The Federal Trade Commission issued a judgement and a consumer alert against ERCA in 2003.Depite these rulings, it looks to me as if the ERCA and National Honor Roll are still up to their dirty tricks in 2006.

IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE FOR US

Even though I didn’t get caught in the National Honor Roll scam, it doesn’t matter. My daughter’s personal information is already on ERCA’s database, collected by her math teacher, and now being sent out who knows where. I have no idea if my daughter signed something on that survey that permitted her information to be used, and neither does she.

What upsets me is that we parents trust our children’s teachers and schools to protect them. And they are failing in that duty. I know it is not just my daughter’s school that has failed in this regard. These companies are thriving because they have found inroads into our schools nationwide, using the educational system as a marketing goldmine.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Feel free to link or email this post, or to pass this information on to anyone you know who has a child in school. And not just if they are in high school. The ERCA has collected personal information from children as young as 10 years old.

Tell your PTA and your school principal. Tell your child’s teachers. Work with your child’s school to develop policies that protect your child’s and your family’s privacy. Help develop curricula that teach kids (and their teachers) how to know when their privacy is being threatened or their personal information mined for profit. And simply, tell your kids not to fill out any surveys at school without them being sent home first.

Stop your child’s school from unwittingly mining your children’s personal information for profit-making entities.

UPDATE: Click here for new information about the National Honor Roll.

______________________________

I just realized that this the second time this week that someone has tried to involve me in a scheme that invades personal privacy. (See April 3 post) Okay, who wants to be third?

Category: Considerations

109 Responses to The National Honor Roll Scam

  1. Well it seems as though there’s a new scam (alright not new just by another name) called United States Achievement Academy, All-American Scholar Program. A student’s name is submitted from a teacher or guidance couselor and in the mail you get the congratulatory letter telling them to fill out the bio info and then if you want-you get to pay $52.90 + $7.00 for processing/shipping, to have your kid’s name published in a yearbook. They will then send you an application to apply for scholarships. Sound familiar??? Anyway, I googled their Lex., KY address and found them on BBB On-line with the following info. Look below and note “Vanity Publishers” and more importantly the other names this organization does business as…National Honor Roll!!

    BBB of Central & Eastern Kentucky, Inc.
    1460 Newtown Pike
    Lexington, KY 40511

    BBB Reliability Report
    May Not Be Reproduced for Commercial or Sales Purposes

    Printer-friendly

    United States Achievement Academy
    2528 Palumbo Drive
    Lexington, KY 40509
    Fayette County
    MAP
    General Information
    Original Business
    Start Date October 1978

    BBB File Opened January 10, 1985

    Principal Contact Mr. Jeff Fraley (President/CEO)

    Complaint Contact Ms. Robin Tomlinson (Customer Service Manager)

    Other Contacts Mr. Michael Kline (IT Manager)
    Dr. George A. Stevens (Founder)

    BBB Member This company is a member
    Type of Business Yearbook Publishers
    Vanity Publishers

    Website http://www.usaa-academy.com
    http://www.allamericanscholar.com

    The information in this report has either been provided by the company, or has been compiled by the Bureau from other sources.

    BBB Membership
    This company has been a member of this Better Business Bureau since January 1985. This means it supports the Bureau’s services to the public and meets our membership standards.
    Program Participation
    This company participates in BBB Online. This means the company has agreed to use special procedures including arbitration, if necessary, to resolve disputes.
    Nature of Business
    This company is in the business of publishing and selling biographical directories listing students from across the United States in various academic and extracurricular activities.

    Student nominations are solicited from middle school, high school and college instructors for inclusion in its directories. Additionally, the firm seeks participants from various honor roll listings.

    Students are not required to pay to have their names and biographical information listed, nor are they required to buy a yearbook. At the student’s option, however, the student’s picture can be included for a $14.95 fee. The firm states it is funded by proceeds from the sale of its yearbooks which are primarily marketed to participants and their family members for $50 to $60.

    Customer Experience
    Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. Any complaints processed by the Bureau in its three-year reporting period have been resolved. The number and type of complaints are not unusual for a company in this industry.

    To have a “Satisfactory Record” with the Bureau, a company must be in business for at least 12 months, properly and promptly address matters referred to it by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving its marketplace conduct. In addition, the Bureau must have a clear understanding of the company’s business and no concerns about its industry.

    Customer Complaint Data
    Number of complaints processed by the BBB over the last 36 months: 3
    Number of complaints processed by the BBB in the last 12 months: 1
    Complaints Concerned:
    Advertising Issues (1 complaints)
    1 Resolved

    Delivery Issues (2 complaints)
    2 Resolved

    The company’s size, volume of business and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by the BBB. The complaints filed against a company may not be as important as the type of complaints, and how the company has handled them. The BBB generally does not pass judgement on the validity of complaints filed.

    Educational/General Comments
    Vanity Publishers
    Vanity publishers differ from conventional publishers in that they generally either offer to publish authors’ works, at the author’s expense, or they solicit entries in directories, patterned after the “Who’s Who” Directories, which bear prestigious sounding titles.

    Directories:

    …Consumers nationwide often ask the BBB for information regarding direct mail solicitations which offer to include the recipient, or a relative, in a biographical directory. The directories are generally related to something integral to the person’s life. For instance, student directories may be related to athletics, academics or graduation, while adult directories tend to be related to their professions, hobbies or other interests. In most cases, no nominee or entry is turned down.

    …The solicitation may be accompanied by a request for a membership fee or for an order of one or more copies of the directory. Some publishers charge nothing for the listing, but might charge to include a picture of the person. Some publishers require that the person to be listed purchase the book for a substantial amount. Many, instead, bank on the fact that relatives, friends, and even acquaintances of those listed will make a purchase.

    Author Publications:

    …Many vanity publishers target authors or songwriters. They might run ads seeking entries in various contests to catch an author’s attention. No matter how the author comes into contact with the vanity publisher, seldom, if ever, is anyone turned away. In this case, the vanity publisher will require an author to underwrite either a partial or total amount of the cost of publishing and promoting the book, poem or song.

    …Authors who deal with vanity publishers should recognize that their creation may have little or no commercial possibilities, especially if they have already been rejected by a number of the better-known publishing houses. Authors should realistically expect no more than the self-satisfaction that any author would derive from seeing his or her book, poem or song in print.

    …Authors should also be aware contracts with such publishers may prohibit submitting their work to any other publishing firms, whether or not the firm meets the terms of the contract. In fact, contracts seldom promise to do anything more than print the work, submit it to others, and provide the author with a specific number of copies for their personal use. They tend to be vague as to the number of copies which will be submitted and to whom they will be submitted.

    The Better Business Bureau routinely encourages caution. Thoroughly evaluate any solicitations as those described and determine if they are truly based on merit or are geared primarily to appeal to your vanity. In most cases, no author, nominee or entry is turned down by the soliciting vanity publishers since submissions, in reality, do not rely on a person’s talent or accomplishments.

    ka 10/8/1999 rev ka 2/9/2000

    Additional Information

    This Business Operates under the Names All American Scholar
    International Foreign Language Awards
    National English Merit Awards
    National Honor Roll Award
    National Leadership & Service Award
    National Minority Leadership Award
    National Science Merit Awards
    United States Achievement Academy
    US Achievement Academy
    USAA (United States Achievement Academy)

    Addresses 2528 Palumbo Drive, Lexington, KY 40509, Fayette County MAP

    Phones (859) 269-5671
    (859) 269-5674
    (866) 892-7615
    (859) 268-9068 (FAX)

    Reported on Saturday, December 30, 2006
    As a matter of policy, the Better Business Bureau does not endorse any product, service or company. BBB reports generally cover a three-year reporting period, and are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information contained herein is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy. Reports are subject to change at any time.
    The Better Business Bureau reports on members and non-members. Membership in the BBB is voluntary, and members must meet and maintain BBB standards. If a company is a member of this BBB, it is stated in this report.
    © 2006 BBB of Central & Eastern Kentucky, Inc.

  2. DOOB-
    Wow! Thanks so much for this information. It’s almost a full time njob just keeping up with these scams, isn’t it?

  3. Does anyone know if they asked for the Social Security Number on the original application for indictment? In my opinion, if I didn’t give out my SSN, I don’t really have much at risk, since they already had most of the information that I could give. As for the spam, well.. they’re paying for postage right? And they’re just wasting ink in the books with my name in there. As long as I didn’t give any potentially harmful information, I may actually feel like this is my way of retaliation.

  4. well if someone out there still doesn’t believe NHR is a scam, let me tell you this, I’m a first year college student, and tonight my dad called telling me about the NHR letter he received, and he sounded so excited. I on the other hand, suspected NHR’s legitimacy right after I went to their website. “for high school and middle school students”, hello, I’m in college now!!!

    P/S: still can’t remember what surveys I filled out, geez, there were tons of surveys, ads, etc. back then when I was about to graduate. Now I have to tell my dad it’s a scam =.=

  5. I can’t believe why these motherf*** send this letter to us. I just received that letter after my college first semester. As I did pretty good during my first semester in college, when I got the NHR letter I was so happy because I believed it was true. I told my father about the letter and he was so proud of me. Two days after I received the letter, I was curious about such organization and I went to their webpage. I followed looking for more information about that organization and when I read this blog my heart was broken in many pieces. We must stop these people from doing this. It will be so hard for me to believe in any prestigious letter that I receive later!

  6. My mom just opened a letter about my brother being inducted into the National Honor Roll. I said…”Wait! Isn’t that for highschool seniors–not college seniors?” As she started to read, she noticed a misspelling. “That’s bogus” I insisted. “Let me Google it.” And this is what I found. Thanks for the info!

  7. I just want you to know that that was incredibly stupid of you! Why in the world would they ask her to be involved in something like that if it wasn’t real? I’ve gotten stupid letters asking for thousands of my dollars to go to student conferences and THAT I have not fallen for.

    I was inducted into the National Honor Roll about a year ago because I have a straight A+ average. I have not taken any tests for this, but I am in my school’s Key Club, which is a volunteering club for students. The National Honor Roll reviews most students involved in the Key Club because most of them are very responsible, smart kids because they care enough to be in a volunteering group!

    It’s not a scam. I saw my name in the National Honor Roll book which is on the shelves of my school library, and my sister’s friend recently won $1,000 from the National Honor Roll Society for Academic Achievement scholarship program.

    You’re an idiot. You have to have faith, and you have to give things a chance.

  8. I just got a letter from NHR today and boy am I glad this blog exists. I didn’t even think to look up their addres and mailbox information. What really tipped me off was that this was congratulating a High School senior yet I am currently a college senior! Just even more proof that this is a scam. What scares me is that they must have had my information for at least the past 3 years!

  9. Megan:
    Congratulations on having a stright A+ average, and to your friends sister for getting the scholarship.

    As I’ve written before, the scam here is not that they don’t give out scholarships, it’s that those scholarships are just a very inexpensive front for the real business of the National Honor Roll, which is marketing and selling your private information.

    The college applciation process has become a HUGE business, and this is all a part of that.

    You and your generation deserve better than this.

  10. oh man. the toughest thing for me is that my parents are sooo proud of me and i just dont know how to tell them. Its really hard for me. I just got the letter today. What do you think i should do? Does it help you at all in getting into college or is it just a big scam?

  11. Anonymous:
    I suspect that this is not helpful to you in any substantive way in getting into college. But don’t take my word for it – ask your guidance counselor at school. And if you got a letter, you must have a b average or better, and I’ll bet you are a great kid, and your parents are proud of you anyway, so TELL THEM. Trust me, I am a parent, we do not need some marketer to make us proud of our kids – we are proud of you guys for being who you are!

  12. i have no idea if this is really a scam or not but if you have already been accepted into the NHR you can tell them not to share your information with any third parties. this is what it says in thier privacy policy:

    “While we seek to share personal information with colleges, universities, organizations, and companies that follow appropriate privacy policies, we cannot be responsible for the actions of such third parties. However, if you wish that we not share your personal information, you may “opt out” by emailing us at privacy@nationalhonorroll.org with that request. We will not share your personal information with any third parties (except as may be required by law) if you have “opted out” in the above-described manner.”

    hope this helps.

  13. i am and 11th grad with a an A- gpa. wow thank god i decided to look this stipid thing up before my mom sent in that application. she was asking me all the questions and i kept telling her that this was BS and she said no it will look good, but i found this and showed it to her and she ripped it up and threw it away. but she was really proud of it when she saw it, so if you get it ripp that shit up. sorry but this sucks. and thank you everyone else for teaching my mom a lesson. i also looked it up on college confidential first and that gave good info too

  14. Macnotcrap: On a quick perusal. I checked out the Student leadership concference website, and it looks legit to me. From what I can see, it basically a summer camp, with the usual costs.

    But don’t take my word for it – do your own research, ask around, check out their web site, and talk to your guidance counselor.

  15. I don’t understand how these stupid businesses are selling our information and why would our counselors give out our information. what idiots!
    I also recieved this b/s around september or october and I was pretty excited, but I knew that I had to keep it to myself because I didn’t want to feel embarrassed if it were a scam. I also remember filling out a survey in chemistry right before I recieved this info.
    The letter did seem a little strange because they claimed that I was involved; yeah sure I have straight A’s but I haven’t done a lot of extracurricular activities. My parents ended up doing research and they told me the truth. There was no point in lying since they are still proud of how great I’m doing in school. I’ve even had lots of well-known schools send me ifo because of my scores on the psat.
    What I want to know is if Lead America is also a scam. It seemed great at first because I thought it was real, but I’m not so sure anymore since inside the cover of the information guide it says “endorsed by National Honor Roll…”. What confuses me the most is that it also says that LeadAmerica is proud to have American University as an academic partner. Isn’t American University a real college in D.C.? I recieved a letter from American University saying that they were interested in me just as those other colleges claimed they were interested in me, but for some reason I can’t seem to find my lettter that they had sent me ,but I know that on bottom of every college letter I’ve recieved it has a p.s. saying that they recieved their info from the college board and I don’t remember if that’s what the letter from American University said.
    I’m pretty mad about this whole issue. But you know what? It doesn’t matter because I’m going to get to the bottom of this scam because I want to know about my school’s involvement in this. I doubt that they know,but who knows apearances are decieving. I’m going to talk to my counselor and find out about this crap and I’m going to call the NHR and ask them to take me off of their list. I don’t want colleges thinking that I paid my way to get acknowleged.
    And to those people who claim that this is not a scam and that we need to have faith that is a bunch of crap. Did you pay your way to get your info published? w/e I don’t believe anything you guys claim to be- geniuses or academic achievers; it may be true, but we all know how you guys recieved your recognition: through a scam initiated by businesses who merely care about their profits.
    When I find out more info you guys I’ll make sure to add commments on my own research.
    And another thing, when I find out the truth I’m going to make a huge deal and warn everyone I know to not fall for this because I’m going to fight for our individual rights; I’m not trying to sound as if I am a tough person, but I am just trying to let you guys know that I will not tolerate b/s. trust me when I say this. Besides, I feel bad for those who fell for it and had to face emotions that they didn’t deserve such as humiliation to have fallen for the scam, apprehension to tell their parents the truth, and disappointment in themselves to find out that they were not good enough, which they probably are.
    Don’t worry you guys don’t blame yourselves or don’t begin thinking that you guys are stupid because you guys fell for a scam. You guys are not the only ones who fell for it. Everybody including teachers, counselors and parents were fooled; it’s not just you it’s everybody. And I think that this NHR scholarship program that they pretend to be will keep trying to target the same people over and over again until someone decides to stop them. I want to suggest that anyone who knows about this scam should notify everyone they know. Warn everybody!
    p.s. If anybody knows about the Leadamerica please let me know. Thanks. If I find out I’ll let you guys know.

  16. not really pertains to NHR, but I just got letters from National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) saying pretty much the same thing. You pay $75.00 for a lifetime membership, then you get your named published in local newspaper, and you can apply for scholarships, job opportunities, etc. I also google-d it, but can’t really find any info. Turned out they have a local chapter at my university as well. I still think maybe they fooled my univ as well. So uhm… would be glad if someone can show me some light.

    Their website is nscs.org

    Thank you.

  17. all i have to say is GOD bless the makers of this site. I literally was filling out the application for this damn NHR when i stumbled upon this site..and with mouth agape shouted NO WAY!!!! As pathetic as it is i totally bought into the nicely printed letters sent, adressing me as if i were a respected student whom many admire…ha-ha.

    I juts recived the completed application stating that I..WOW…I just the little old “average joe” student could be inducted into such a ‘prestigeous honor!’

    All i have to say and question is, if this is a scam and people are aware of it…how is this NHR allowed to continue in its practice from hell!? honestly, is the president capapable to shutting down a scamming business like this?

    -Signed
    a fristrated junior in high school who wasted a good half hour filling this crap out when she could have been studying for SATS……
    go figure.

  18. Okay so I asked my councelor about the NHR and she said it wasn’t a bad thing that it was just a business, which I think its pretty stupid because why the hell don’t they tell all the students this. Anyway the LeadAmerica is basically a summer program and it works w/ NHR and it costs a lot of money so it basically is just a rip-off. I’m pretty mad though because she didn’t really want to talk about it so I really don’t know what’s going on. I just know that colleges don’t see the NHR as a good thing because they think that you just paid your way in order to get recognized. don’t do NHR; it’s just a waste of money.
    I really would want to do something about this, but nobody seems to care and the councelors seem to encourage this behavior because I know that they all know what is going on w/ NHR and they refuse to say anything about it. I think that they see it as a chance for some student to get a “scholarship” if they really are granted one.

  19. Thanks to all of you folks who have contributed to this site. I too have come across this scam and wish to make the following comment.

    This scam is run by a corporation that has no legitimate function within our society. While hiding behind the cover of a legitimate function they deceptively abuse our trust to steal information in pursuit of profits for their shareholders.

    It is my belief that every citizen has a responsibility to oppose and reveal this scam for what it is. Like the thief who prowls at night these people will wither when a bright light is cast upon them.

    I applaud this website and those who have contributed to it. Hurrah for you folks!

  20. so where does ur bio go? & what about those who sent in the picture??
    what happens to ur credit card?
    and if the book does really come out,why do u say it’s a scam.
    since this is a scam then why the gov isn’t doing anything about it?

  21. I received this Honor Roll letter myself for my daughter, I was so proud of her & still am because she has come along way. As I was reading this to my husband he stated “sounds familiar” It uses all the same words that Who’s Who send out. So he did some searching & found this site. I am so disappointed that our childrens teachers/schools would send out our children’s information without consulting us. Totally wrong. I will be talking to the school about this. My daughter states she doesn’t remember filling out any survey’s. I just told my daughter “Welcome to the real world”. I will be visiting National Honor Rolls site to opt-out. Thanks for your website. Though I wish this wasn’t true.

  22. I did not read all of the responses, but I don’t think the school in the only place collecting and using this personal information. My son took the SAT in his 7th grade year and filled out all of the questionaires and registration information and since that time he has been getting these solicitations and the Who’s Who as well. I believe SAT and ACT are selling all of their info on students as well.

  23. Anonymous…
    I’m fairly certain you’re right. I took the ACT about a year and a half ago, but I have a near-photographic memory and think I remember seeing a box to check if you didn’t want your personal information released to a third party. In small print, of course. Anyway, I find junkmail a never-failing source of humor, so I left the box unchecked. But the ACT, at least, seems to have discovered a new way to generate revenue.

  24. If only I would have found this site before I sent the letter with money about a half a year ago. Still haven’t gotten any answers and I am still quite confused about this whole thing. I had my doubts because my friend also got it but she was a straight F student. I should have listened to my gut but I guess seeing my mom soo proud of made me feel special.

  25. Ok. Now I understand better and I am quite mad. How can they do this. They send you a letter saying that you were chosen to be in the national honor roll. My mother and I thinking that I was already promised to be in the honor roll send the money and biography in. We still have not gotten any response and find out that they choose from the chosen to be in the honor roll. What happens to all the other people that might have sent in the money as well? For my mother and I the money isn’t the problem it is how they lie to you. This is not fair. I remember in the beginning of my 8th grade year I filled out this “survey” thinking it was ok because it is from the school and about college. To find out it was part of a scam is disapointing.

  26. WOW , This really sucks i also got a letter from the NHS and actually got accepeted .I was so happy and so where my parents i even thank god thinking it was true .Thats really messed up. I know i should tell my parents and all but i would be so sad to tell them after they felt so proud of me and thinking i was gonna actually meet the governor and what not.Im so glad we didn`t buy anything and we where too but we just got lazy and never sent the forms.So yeah =(

  27. I just got a resume from a guy who listed national honor roll as a COLLEGE honors activity, and I bet he still doesn’t know what a fake it is!!!
    I’ll be sure to tell him when I talk to him.

  28. well that sucks. i thought it was real because im a straight A student enrolled in all honors and AP courses. my mom was extra excited so she bought the book. i hate these people!!!

  29. First off, thank you for your post.

    I’ve spent the past half hour or so dealing with this United States Achievement Award nomination letter I received and it really is quite sad of me not to have noticed it was a scam right from the beginning…While I was filling it out, nothing really seemed fishy. In fact, the thing that brought me around to sniffing around is that they have that Who’s Who thing under one of the “achievements” you can choose for your biography.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who%27s_Who_scam

    I happened to stumble across that. So I became angry. And I followed it to your post; along with all these helpful comments, which made me even angrier. All those “leadership conference” nominations I received from 7th grade were all bogus; and, haha, I actually thought it would be cool to go to UCLA and meet with other kids, all for just a few thousand dollars. Sure…

    I really would like to meet this Dr. George A. Stevens person and kick him in an uncomfortable place. He doesn’t deserve the title of Dr. for the prick and scammer that he is – but then again, he must have acquired it from a diploma mill, anyway.

    This really is America for you.

  30. I just wanna know how do you know all of this and Im not in high school so clearly theyve talked to other middle schools and possibly elementries and my letter said nothing about money at all it actually talked about scholarships and yeah so what i do have a b average 3.3 to be exact but its hard with all honors classes theatre class theatre practice and having a social life plu just growing up in general a b is a really good thing oh yeah and gifted which ive been in since kindergarten!! im now in the 8th!!!

  31. Anonymous – the scholarships are real, but only a very few are given, and they are very low in dollar value compared with the dollar value of what you are giving them in terms of your personal information. If you don;t mind giving out your personal info in return for a small chance at some money, by all means go ahead and apply.

    Just understand what it really is – Not a merit based scholarship, but a business buying and selling your personal information. It’s no different than the web sites that offer a small chance of winning an ipod in return for your personal data.

  32. I got the letter from the NRH yesterday in the mail. I’m glad I decided to look up more info on this organization. This really sucks though because both my parents were so proud of me and I don’t know how I’m going to tell them. I do remember taking a survery about college a while back in my english class. This is horrible! More importantly though how am I going to tell my parents?! I HATE this!!!

  33. When i first got this in the mail i felt so proud of myself but when i started to read the letter i began to have second thoughts. Why would they make a biography on this? So i decided to look online about facts from here and thank god i found this website! Because my dad and i were about to apply! Im glad there are people out there helping us out of these scams. Thank you to everyone who started this! <3

  34. I’m a freshman in high school and I too filled out the same survey thinking that it would help me with colleges and I too got a National Honor Roll letter! At first I really thought it was a scam because I’ve been scammed before but as I started reading it I thought about it and decided to look it up and I am glad I did! I would like to thank the person who posted this! But I also feel a little bit betrayed in the fact that my school sent out my information to a company that none of us didn’t even know about! I guess I should’ve have been so naive in trusting the school. Next time I will be thinking twice about give my information out even if it is for the school!

  35. I got the letter about 2 weeks ago, and now i got the commendation letter. My brother said it looks fake because why would they ask me what my school is if they already know my grade avarage and all. Plus it’s not like i got straight A this year and i have friends who is way smarter than me and she took 3 AP/Honor classes and she got all A’s. When i asked my other friend she told me that she got this too last year and she said to look it up and she also said it was a scam. But my parents aren’t sure about this they want me to ask my teacher , although i’m pretty convinced that this is a scam.

  36. Thank You for this information! I ws just signing this form right now. There was this profile code so you can register yourself into the wbesite. I typed it in and I saw the scam part!! Man was I mad. My best friend who has great grades, didn’t get this stuff. And I only made straight B’s, yet is it so serious they gave our information away? I mean We need yo get into college don’t we. Yet I felt weird about this whole thing. They had only a questionare of what of my interests and not my personal struggles of everything I have done!! I’m going to my Guidance Counseler tommorow with this letter, You really can’t get into college with sitting back. IS FASTWEB A SCAM TOO?

  37. I feel so stupid! I already entered my information in there. I was so excited, because my twin sister didn’t get one and i felt so special. Well i guess i am one of the special ones to get scammed. I didn’t purchase anything, my dad was like i don’t know, but since it was from d.c. and they had people from college board on there i thought it was legit. But when mcafee said their security certificate was right. I decided to look it up from other sites, guess what i found you! Now i feel like an idiot, and scared that this is going to bite me in the but big freaking time. These people should be shut down and put in jail. For doing this to teenagers it hurts them emotionally, and it costs them money! THey should at least be shut down!!

  38. More info about this scam should leave no doubt:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE4DC1630F934A15754C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

    Here is a very telling tidbit about the guy (Dr. Stevens) who, according to the brochure the the “academy” sends “devotes his life to honoring worthy students”:

    “Dr. Stevens was licensed as a dentist in Kentucky for three years in the mid-1970’s, but he said he had never practiced dentistry.”

  39. My severely disabled daughter was “invited” to National Junior Leaders Conference sponsored by LeadAmerica. I knew it was junk, she has the mind of a 6-month-old child. Brochure indeed mentions National Honor Roll endorsing the program. I investigated, confronted them. Here is what the Executive Director of LeadAmerica wrote me – copied and pasted from his email]: Dear Mrs. van Antwerp,
    I am writing in follow-up to my email from Monday March 10, 2008. Again I would like to say how sincerely sorry I am that a letter and materials were sent to your home. As promised, we have investigated the source of the data which caused the misdirected mailing.
    We have identified that Jessi’s name was provided to us by a student list provider, American Student Lists. American Student Lists is one of a number of national talent identification programs, surveys and student list organizations that identify and provide names of students to organizations like ours for purposes of recruiting to academic and other summer programs. Some of these organizations also identify and provide student lists to colleges and universities as part of their recruiting and admissions process.
    American Student Lists has informed us that Jessi’s name was obtained by them from what they term as a “non-internet survey”. While they were not able to identify the exact survey source, they have taken action to remove Jessi’s name from their files for mailing purposes. I have taken the liberty of attaching American Student List’s reply to our request.
    In addition, we have asked that American Student Lists be prepared to make available a senior representative should you wish to speak with them directly. The attached e-mail contains the contact information for Stacy DeNatalie. She is aware of the situation and will be happy to provide a more detailed explanation if you feel that is necessary.
    Mrs. van Antwerp, please know I am extremely disappointed and disturbed by this incident. I am grateful that you made me aware of the situation and allowed me the opportunity to address it with our information providers and with you. As disappointing as this situation may be, it does present us with an opportunity to learn and improve as an organization.
    I hope you will accept my formal and heartfelt apology. As I mentioned in my earlier email, LeadAmerica is a very honorable organization that serves a very important mission, to which I have dedicated most of my adult life and energies. Please let me know if we can be of further assistance.
    Sincerely,
    Chris M. Salamone, Esq.
    Executive Director

    Parents are obviously scammed,few can prove it like I can. Have filed FTC complaint, since then I have asked LeadAmerica to supply me with only 20 of the names of “the nearly 400 senators, governors, etc” on behalf they’ve claimed to “invite” my child. They’re not responding. If your child has been invited, ask them for names. And then email those names and let them know they are being used to deceive parents.
    This is a summer camp, your child’s info was from a company called American Student List, or some other one [there’s many] and they all refer to our children as ‘targets’.

  40. Me again – above comment is mine. Also filed BBB complaint against them insisting on names of Governors, Senators, etc. [If you’ve receive an invitation from LeadAmerica – look at opening sentence on whose behalf your child has been invited. I intend to email each and every one of them to find out if they are aware that they are part of a junkmail scheme. Will keep you posted…
    Also, call or email {getting it in writing is always wonderful} and ask exactly where they got your child’s name. They kept on lying about using a mailing list, until I cornered them. Also ask for a list of names of the elected officials. I am going after every single one of these companies, because she keeps getting invites to all kinds of crap, because I am in the very unique position of being able to prove that they use deceptive business practices and mailing list. Their “selection criteria” is just so that you’d be so proud of your kiddo that you wouldn’t mind parting with $2000 – $5000 because you have no idea that it is just a summer program and they bought your kids name. Notably American Student List is not very particular about who they sell your kid’s personal info either…
    http://www.commercialalert.org/news/Archive/2001/12/students-names-can-end-up-in-some-questionable-hands

  41. now i have a question. i recently received a letter with the envelope with the US Senate on the front but return address only has Washington D.C., and the zipcode 20510-0702 underneath, no street or office number. Inside is a congratulations from my senator, Chris Dodd, for having been nominated for the National Honor Roll. Now, i’ve seen the scam, but im not sure if the afore mentioned Honor Roll is the same thing. And if it is, and the paper is legit, then i think there’s one senator who supports the program. I’ve seen what the NHR tries to do which is to get publicity so that people will try to send more kids to it, so that pretty soon they can become more selective, and hopefully (not) get the recognition they seek by colleges, which would cement people’s desire of having their children obtain an advantage by participating in the program. That’s at least what i’ve seen. And its how most of the programs like NHR try to function. Anyways if anyone has some insight as to what this all means leave a comment. I really appreciate this blog TBTAM, keep up the good work.

  42. Andrew – Why not call Chris Dodd’s office and find out if they really sent you that letter? If so, then tell them what you now know abut the NHR and see what he says.

  43. I filled out the information and I got a book back from the “national honor roll” with student pictures and everything.

  44. Nelnet announces acquisitions of Student Marketing Group and National Honor Roll

    For Release: 3/29/2005

    Contact: Ben Kiser, 402.458.3024

    (LINCOLN, NE) – Nelnet, Inc. (NYSE: NNI) announced today it has acquired Student Marketing Group, Inc. and National Honor Roll, L.L.C.

    Student Marketing Group is a full service direct marketing agency providing a wide range of products and services to help businesses cost effectively reach the middle school, high school, college bound high school, college, and young adult marketplace. A division of Student Marketing Group, College Bound Selection Service provides marketing services and college bound student lists to college and university admissions offices nationwide. In addition, Student Marketing Group operates AllScholar.com, a free scholarship search Web site.

    National Honor Roll recognizes middle and high school students for exceptional academic success by providing publication in the National Honor Roll Commemorative Edition, as well as scholarships, a College Admissions Notification Service, and notice to local newspapers and elected officials.

    “Student Marketing Group and National Honor Roll each bring a strong reputation and a wealth of different experiences building marketing relationships with students and schools,” said Stephen Butterfield, Vice Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Nelnet. “These acquisitions will further diversify our revenue stream and provide an opportunity to leverage their intellectual capital and wealth of direct marketing expertise in our future operations.”

    Based in Lynbrook, New York, Student Marketing Group and National Honor Roll will operate as separate, wholly owned subsidiaries of Nelnet. Each company will retain its brand identity, management, and employee base.

    Student Marketing Group founder and President Jan Stumacher said: “We are excited to join the Nelnet family. The combined companies will make tremendous resources available to our customers.”

    The purchase price of the acquisitions will range between $31 million and $51 million, based on the performance of the acquired companies. The acquisitions are expected to be immediately accretive, though not material, to Nelnet’s base net income.

    ###

    Nelnet is one of the leading education finance companies in the United States and is focused on providing quality student loan products and services to students and schools nationwide. With more than $13 billion in student loan assets, Nelnet originates in excess of $3 billion for itself and its service partners annually, and its servicing software is used by approximately 35 clients, including Nelnet, to service more than $50 billion in student loans. Nelnet ranks among the nation’s leaders in terms of total student loan assets.

    Nelnet offers a broad range of student loan and financial services and technology-based products, including student loan origination and lending, guarantee servicing, and a suite of software solutions. Our products are designed to simplify the student loan process by automating financial aid delivery, loan processing, and funds disbursement. Our services help to facilitate and streamline education finance for all involved in the industry, including student and parent borrowers, lenders, financial aid officers, guaranty agencies, governmental agencies, servicers, and the capital markets.

  45. national honor roll is legible. I did not fill out a survey earlier. It was to see what majors the person was interested in. You do that with any standardised test. I took the PSAT and it did that. it is legible

  46. I recieved a letter for the “United States Achievement Academy” andd was about to order the yearbook and a picture inclusion. But thanks to you guys I was saved. Thanks!

    btw- I had an 8th grade friend who is an absoulte genius (2280 SATS- prefect reading SAT, etc…he did this in 8th grade) who never even heard of this organization.

    once again

    ANY INCLUSION INTO RESPECTABLE SOCIETIES ARE FREE.

    -J K

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