You will receive many offers throughout the year for scholarships, and not all of them are legitimate! Here are some “Scam” warning signs that indicate that you're dealing with a scholarship scammer:
1. Fees: Scammers use bogus fees such as “application,” “disbursement,” “redemption,” and processing fees” as a way to take your money. Scholarships should not require any fees.
2. Credit card or bank account information needed: Never give credit card or bank account info to receive aid. If you have, call your bank or credit card issuer immediately.
3. Scholarship guarantee: No one controls judges’ decisions. Be wary of “high success rates,” which often refer to award matches, not award winners.
4. No work involved: Legitimate scholarship applications require time and energy. No one can complete them for you.
5. No contact information: Before you apply, confirm the sponsor’s contact info. The sponsor should supply a valid e-mail address, phone number or mailing address (not a PO box) upon request.
6. Unsolicited scholarships:If you are called to receive an award for which you never applied, be alert. Ask where the sponsor got your name and number. Then follow up.
7. Pressure tactics: don't allow yourself to be pressured into applying for a scholarship,especially if the sponsor is asking you to pay money up front.
8. Claims of “exclusive” scholarships: Legitimate sponsors won't restrict knowledge about their award to a single service.
9. An official-sounding name or endorsement doesn't mean legitimacy: A sponsor may use words like “national,” “education” or “federal” or have an official-looking seal, but might still be a scammer.
10. Your questions aren't answered directly: can't get a straight answer from a sponsor regarding their application, what will be done with your information (e.g., if it will be sent to a third party) or other questions? Proceed with caution!
Scam-Spotting Rules of Thumb
~ don't pay money to get money ~ Legit scholarships are never guaranteed
~ Too good to be true? It probably is! ~ Feel suspicious? Trust your instinct!
~ Spend time, not money. ~ Applying for financial aid should never cost more than a postage stamp!
~ If you think you may be dealing with a scammer, report it.