A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education. Scholarships are awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. Scholarship money is not required to be repaid by the student. In the world of academic integrity, there are all kinds of scams that students (and the universities they’re associated with) have to watch out for. Some of these scams, such as the potential to be blackmailed by a contract cheating provider, are dangerous.
The fake scholarship scam is less likely to lead to blackmail than using an essay mill, but it can waste people’s time with little prospect of a return. There are dangers of personal information being shared. And, if you’re a student who successfully gains a scholarship, you might just end up with your picture plastered all over a website you’re not keen to be associated with – not good for your long term professional online presence!
Students are prime targets for scholarship scams, experts say. A combination of inexperience, vulnerability and desperation as college costs increase and states cut funding for public institutions create a perfect storm. Students represented 9.4 percent of fraud reports submitted to the BBB Scam Tracker in 2018, and about 24 percent of students reported a loss when exposed to a scam, compared with only about 28 percent of non-students, Hutt says.
Experts say the two most prominent red flags are when students are selected for college scholarships they never applied for, and when students are asked to pay an advance fee to be eligible for a scholarship.
“The biggest red flag is getting selected for a scholarship you never applied for. Often these offers ask for a ‘processing fee’ or require you to ‘pre-pay taxes’ before getting the award. Of course, once you pay the money, the scholarship disappears,” Hutt wrote in an email. “Another variation is a fake check scam, where you deposit what looks like a real check and then are asked to send part of the money back to cover fees. When the check later bounces, you are out the money.”
“There are unfortunately companies out there who prey on students and their parents who are concerned about their ability to pay for college, which seems to be getting more expensive every year,What they may do is employ pressure techniques or seminars on financial aid to entice people.
How To Spot A fake Scholarship
Pay this amount: The means to identify scholarship scams is to remember that the money flows to the student, and not from students. Genuine and reputable scholarships are free to apply for and it should not require any flow of money out from you . If you come across a scholarship that charges you to apply, it’s likely a scam. Beware of any “scholarship” that requests an application fee, even as low as N5,000 or even Rechargeable Cards or innocuously low one like $10 or $20 or most especially application submissions that can be undertaken free of charge, as most legitimate scholarship sponsors do not require application fee for any reason.
Its Guaranteed or we refund: This is the funniest and the easiest means of knowing its a scam, because nobody can guarantee a scholarship and this can be so tempting. If you are worthy and you will certainly get it. Shady companies may promise you a scholarship, but that guarantee may never come and that’s the red flag that warns you to flee. Such guarantees are counting the federal student aid programs and probably private student loan programs, for which people are eligible to get it.
Exclusive Rights: There is a general belief that exclusive things are of higher quality, as such this is another way thieves and fraudulent individuals operate, they trick you by offering “exclusive” scholarships you can’t find anywhere else. No one has exculsive access to scholarship information.
All information about scholarships can be freely found online. Anyone who claims to have access to a secret database is lying and is likely going to charge you for the “exclusive” information. or individuals never actually provide any information at all, they just take money and then are gone.
You win a Scholarship that you did not apply for: These are actually what most of us are actually facing as we speak, we have been sent text messages that we’ve won scholarships,grants and even loan we have no clue about and hence these are fraudulent people at work. You cannot win a scholarship or anything you did not apply for.
Request for personal information: If a scholarship application is asking for more details such as bank account numbers, pin numbers and the answers to security questions, it could be a scam. This information will never be requested by legitimate scholarship opportunities.
Seminars to getting your scholarship money: Be wary of certain free seminars claiming to know how and the best way to get you scholarship money. These sessions could be include pressure schemed tactics which could leave you very uncomfortable for you and could cause you to end up patronizing them, so the way out is not to go at all even if you are invited.
The main way to avoid all these scams is to use common sense and be inquisitive. When you ask questions, you can usually find the holes in a scam and avoid being fooled. Remember, money should be coming to you instead of you should giving it out to fraudsters.