As you would never have to repay a scholarship, they are an excellent method for overseas students to get funding that is basically free. Scholarships are therefore highly popular, and some businesses or people will take advantage of students’ ambition to win a scholarship in order to defraud them for money.
Knowing the most common scams and how they operate is the best approach to protect yourself from them.
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There are several things you can watch out for when searching for scholarships to protect yourself, things that should raise red flags.
How to Recognize Scholarship Scam?
Scholarship frauds frequently target students, according to experts. The expenses of higher education are rising, and governments are cutting financing for public institutions, creating a perfect storm of inexperience, fragility, and desperation. Students made up 9.4% of all fraud submissions to the BBB Scam Tracker in 2018, and roughly 24% of students reported losing money as a result of falling victim to a scam, compared to just 28% of non-students, according to Hutt.
“Getting chosen for a scholarship you never sought is the biggest caution sign. These offers frequently demand a “processing charge” or demand that you “pre-pay taxes” before receiving the prize. Of course, the scholarship is lost once you pay the money, “wrote in an email, Hutt. “A phony check scam is another type in which you deposit what seems to be a legitimate check and are then requested to return a portion of the money back to pay costs. You lose the money if the check later bounces.”
(A). Upfront payment or application fee
You should never have to submit money to an organization in order to receive a scholarship, therefore never pay an application fee or send money with your scholarship application. Most likely, these organizations will just keep the money for themselves, and you won’t hear from them again.
(B). Loan charges
Companies that want a loan charge before they would distribute money to you should be avoided. Real lending firms never ask for a charge upfront; instead, they add costs to the balance of your loan, which you return over time.
(C). Guaranteed Scholarships
Never put your faith in a business that promises to secure you a scholarship. These businesses will charge you a fee and sometimes even promise a refund, but they will never be able to secure you a scholarship. Genuine services would never make the claim that they will earn you your scholarship.
(D). Names of Companies/Scholarships
Be cautious if you find a scholarship service or business that uses terms like “official,” “national,” “government,” or other titles that have a governmental or official tone to them. They are likely attempting to appear official in order to hide the swindle.
Companies put pressure on students and their families by providing success stories and testimonials, offering significant scholarships in return for payments, and being evasive about the costs associated with these services. The Financial Education Benefits Center or American Financial Student Services are just two examples of firms that may hold financial assistance seminars with innocent-sounding titles, according to him.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of a Scam?
Students should typically avoid giving out their Social Security number, bank account information, or paying an upfront application fee for a scholarship in order to prevent falling victim to these frauds. They should do their homework on the scholarship provider and hunt for other recipients to show the authenticity of the prize.
Breyault advises students to communicate in writing about scholarships with any private consultants or businesses in order to have a record of any promises made. He claims that any consultants or businesses who are reluctant to converse in writing could be engaging in fraud.
Students should exercise caution while submitting their credit card information and before giving any personal information to unreliable websites. Through surveys and straightforward contact forms, some frauds harvest student data and information.
When looking for scholarships, there are a few guidelines you should go by to prevent scams.
Consider whether it seems too wonderful to be true
A scholarship or offer that seems too good to be true generally is! Things that seem too good to be true frequently are, so if you believe something is simply too good to be true, take a step back and conduct a little more research.
Never give cash
Never pay company money for anything, including application fees, services, or truly for anything. Since it doesn’t operate that way, legitimate scholarships won’t charge you to apply and won’t demand payment in exchange for funding.
If a scholarship offer asks for money upfront or you want to confirm that they are legitimate, get in touch with the individual directly, make sure you can reach them via phone, and get their physical location and any other information you want. Real businesses will be happy to share this information, whereas fraudulent organizations will be reluctant to do so.
Perform some background checks on the firm or organization providing the scholarship. For instance, use Google to look up the company’s name to discover whether anyone has been cheated by it. Check the country company directory for that firm as well. For instance, all UK companies are required to register, and you can conduct a free internet search of them.
In the end, using your time to look for a scholarship on your own is the finest advice anyone could give you to discover a reliable scholarship. Since there is no quick and simple way to acquire a scholarship, make the most of your time by adhering to the aforementioned principles.
Blontz wrote in an email that families should make the most of their time when applying for scholarships by submitting as much as possible through colleges (most schools only consider applications for scholarships with regard to admissions and financial aid, but some scholarships have one-off forms) and then their communities. Smaller scholarships are frequently offered by the student’s high school, houses of worship, the employment of the parent, or other groups the family belongs to.