With all of the hard work that you’ve put into qualifying for acceptance to a decent college, the last thing you can afford is to fall victim to a scholarship scam. As immoral and outlandish as a lot of these scams may seem, they are definitely very real and they are rampant all over the internet. Likewise, there are all kinds of legitimate scholarship programs that you can find on the internet, so you just have to know how to spot the major red flags. Here are some common college scholarship scams to look out for.
There are all kinds of scams out there that come with really unbelievable sweeping claims. Things like, “You won’t find this information anywhere else”, or “Scholarship is guaranteed or your money back”, or “To hold this scholarship, we will need your credit card information.” Any claim such as these is definitely a scam. You should never have to give any kind of money when you apply for scholarships and there are never any guarantees.
Scholarships that are Time Sensitive
If you ever see an ad for a scholarship that is being awarded on a first come, first served basis, then you can almost certainly surmise that it is a scam. Scholarship contests are supposed to be fair and that means giving each and every applicant the same deadline. It doesn’t matter whether you’re applying for out-of-state bachelor’s programs, or if you’re trying to earn an online MBA, the legitimate scholarship contests are always going to maintain these principles of fairness.
Some ads will invite you to a free scholarship seminar where they promise to teach you all the tricks of the trade for ensuring that you are awarded a sizable scholarship. In reality, this seminar will be nothing but a sleazy sales pitch where they will try to sell you annuity, insurance and/or a host of phony investment products. Not only is this a huge waste of your time and energy, it’s also an egregious way to take money from those who are in need of financial assistance.
Rewards that Come Out of Thin Air
If you ever receive an email notifying you that you’re the lucky winner of a hefty college scholarship and you haven’t even applied for a scholarship through that program, then you want to delete that email immediately. In some other cases, they will get you to send in an application, but this application will require almost no effort on your part, and it will promise you tens of thousands of dollars if you just simply pay a $100 processing fee. Be warned that you will never get this or any other money back.
No matter what, if you are asked to pay any kind of processing fee, then it’s a surefire sign that you are encountering a scam. The whole point of scholarship programs is that there are people who have money and want to share it with those who cannot afford to pay for their higher education. These programs do not need your money for any kind of processing, so don’t ever fall for this scam.