University education is costly! Parents are spending millions of dollars to fund their children's education. Most parents depend on scholarships to help in paying off high college fees. Scammers are aware of this plight by parents and connive fraudulent attempts to trick unsuspecting parents. These scammers exploit desperate parents and applicants to scam their money or banking details.
Some con artists demand exorbitant charges as fees for processing an application. In addition, the new tactics involve sending fake cheques with considerable funds to desperate applicants. Afterward, they contact the student and ask to offset the balance to them.
Scam scenarios are getting innovative at the expense of unknowing students. Some unfortunate applicants fall for these scams given the high scholarship application rates.
Our guide provides an in-depth analysis of different scholarship scam sites and what to do to stay safe.
Common Tactics of Scam Sites
The con industry is ever-evolving, with new tactics coming forward to dupe more players. Here are some common tactics these con artists employ:
Phone Call Scam
Arguably, it is the oldest trick in the book of scam artists. An unscrupulous individual or firm calls a prospective applicant and claims to offer a learning opportunity. The end goal is duping students into paying high tuition fees or admission charges. Applicants end up revealing their financial details.
Note a legit scholarship program does not directly contact a prospect. Therefore, research the name of the program and find its online reputation. Lack of information about a certain company is a red flag. Don't open any attachments on your email or provide your personal information.
The second trick up their sleeves is guaranteeing students a scholarship. These organizations go through thousands of applications. The main aim is to seek desperate applicants willing to pay and jump ahead of the line.
In most cases, these individuals ask for fees or make up unknown demands for cash. In return, they dupe applicants with promises of a money-back guarantee. Fall for this scam, and get your money taken for good.
If the deal is too sweet…? Yes! Apply caution with each application. Any scholarship application does not come with a guarantee.
Extra Payment Scam
Immediately, a scholarship program asks for any payment in exchange for funds, and it's fishy. No organization requires applicants to submit any money. Therefore, never pay tuition or other made-up charges.
Most likely, these programs are run by scam artists looking for a payday. Others get too innovative and offer advanced loans where students can access low-interest college loans. The catch is that all applicants must pay a charge to meet the eligibility criteria.
Scholarships have deadlines for applications. Finding a scholarship with a few hours or days' deadline is highly suspicious. This is a common technique employed by scammers to create a sense of urgency for applicants to catch them off-guard.
Some scammers attempt to impersonate government officials or representatives to show their authority in the application process. They copy the supporting documents that showcase their suitability to the program, such as a skilled term paper writer at EssayWriter.org. These scammers demand immediate cash transfers.
How to Protect Yourself From Online Scams
Given the ingenuity of scammers, it calls for extra care when dealing with such organizations. Here are tips to protect yourself from these online scams:
Never Pay Upfront
Never make any upfront payments to any program for application or service fees. This is a common tactic to deceive unsuspecting applicants and reap their money. Legitimate scholarship programs have a free application process.
These applications are professional and straightforward. There is a certain cap placed on scholarships. Therefore, avoid enticing deals with large sums from scammers.
Any scholarship offer should follow with direct communication with the head office. Ask pertinent questions about their physical address, track record, and requirements. Real organizations avail this information to all respondents.
Search Online Reputation
Search the organization's name online and look for reviews and testimonials from other applicants. There are plenty of chat rooms and open forums with applicants sharing their experiences with their scholarship application process. It's easy to find some victims of a scam sharing their experiences.
How to Find Real Scholarships
Don't lose hope if you're a victim of scams. There are real scholarships targeting students like you. Here are tips for finding these scholarships and applying for them:
Search for Free Scholarship Sites
Students can take advantage of the multiple scholarship databases available online. These sites contain multiple scholarships available where students can apply based on their eligibility criteria.
A scholarship application comes accompanied by supporting documents to make it legitimate. Some supporting documents to send with the application include:
- Application form
- Letter of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
- Standardized test scores
Practice your essaywriter skills to craft these documents to boost your chances of acceptance by the scholarship board.
Check Local Organizations
Instead of looking online for a scholarship opportunity, visit your local organizations and inquire about any available scholarships. Multiple non-profit organizations offer these opportunities. Moreover, this option is way less competitive compared to online versions.
Contact College Directly
Sometimes, contacting your preferred college and asking about available scholarship opportunities is better. Remember to consider these educational institutions' power in offering students financial aid.
Seek Employer Scholarships
Some established companies often offer employer scholarships to part-time students or their children. For government workers, their children are eligible to apply for FAFSA.
There are private scholarships to award talented individuals in athletics with full board scholarships to enhance their careers. These opportunities seek applicants with good academic capabilities and strong sportsmanship.
Search for Mentors
Finding a mentor is helpful in landing applicants with a successful scholarship application. Consult mentors in related fields of studies with deep connections with individuals who can offer these opportunities. Also, their mentors can offer recommendation letters on your behalf.
The internet is thriving with scammers looking for unsuspecting applicants. Therefore, it's important to maintain caution before any transaction. Research online any suspicious programs and report any scam sites online.