Scholarships are a wonderful option for overseas students to acquire virtually free financial help since you will never be asked to return a scholarship. With over 1.3 trillion US dollars in student loan debt in the United States alone in 2017, affording your post-secondary education is challenging, but it is vital to get your ideal career. Thankfully, scholarships are available to support students, especially A+ students, in reducing their financial load.
As a result, scholarships are quite popular, and some companies/individuals will take advantage of students’ ambition to earn a scholarship to scam them.
Thankfully, there are methods to determine these frauds and avoid wasting your time by dealing with real scholarship opportunities. But, with so many genuine and bogus offers of financial assistance, how can you recognize when you’ve found a real deal?
The easiest approach to protect oneself against a scholarship scam is to understand what the primary scams are and how they operate. Here are some methods for detecting scholarship fraud.
Fraudsters requesting cash upfront/application fees
Avoid paying money beforehand or paying an application fee when seeking a scholarship; you should not have to give money to an organization to earn a scholarship. These groups will almost certainly keep the funds and you’ll never hear from them ever again.
Loan applications fees
Organizations and institutes that demand a loan fee before releasing funds should be avoided at all costs. Original and authentic loan companies will give you fees for your loan balance, which you will repay over time, rather than charging you a fee upfront.
Assurances for the scholarship
Don’t put your faith in an organization that claims to be able to earn you a scholarship. These groups will charge a price and may even promise your money back, but they’ll never earn you a scholarship. Reputable organizations will never ensure that you earn your scholarship.
Scholarship Service Using Scholarship Names
Be wary if a scholarship service or corporation employs phrases such as “authoritative,” “national,” “federal,” or other federal or authorized distributor titles. They’re probably trying to look legitimate to hide the deception.
How to Avoid Falling for Scholarship Scams?
When looking for scholarships, there are some rules you should follow to avoid being scammed. Contact your school’s guidance counselor or financial aid office.
When looking for scholarships, there are some rules that you should follow to avoid being scammed.
Contacting the Guidance counselor or financial aid office at your school
If you’re in school, there should be someone who can help you determine whether a scholarship you want to apply for (or have been contacted about) is legitimate.
Because they are in the education system and usually have experience with scholarship organizations, your school’s resources are excellent. It’s easier for them to tell if a location is a scam or if it’s similar to the more traditional, legitimate scholarships they’ve seen in the past.
Verifying with accredited scholarship sites
Certain scholarship websites have been around for a long time, providing options for students in need of financial assistance. You’ve probably heard of some of them at school or from family and friends.
Scholarship reputability can be confirmed online using resources like these. Keep in mind that not all places that offer scholarships are affiliated with an official organization. They may, however, still be legal.
Applying for university-approved scholarships
Universities routinely notify students about potential scholarships, especially after the academic year. These are typically from renowned organizations with which the institution has already collaborated. You may receive emails from your faculty about these scholarships, or you may find announcements on your university’s website.
The good news about faculty announcements is that there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for those scholarships. For example, the biology department may inform its students about a grant for those pursuing advanced studies in biology. The students they reach out to will already meet the grant’s eligibility requirements.
As previously stated, you should keep a record of all the places you’ve applied to so that you can check back if you win a scholarship. If you receive notification that you have won something, keep records of your correspondences in case you need to use them as proof to claim the scholarship (if it turns out to be genuine) or to report to the police.
Don’t freely Provide Your Info
It may only be a few dollars for a “registration fee,” but by providing your credit card information, you have no idea what risks you are exposing yourself to. You could also be handing over your phone number to a company that will later sell it to spam call lists. Before you submit your information, make sure you understand where it is going.
Avoid time-sensitive offers
Scholarship offers with time constraints should be avoided as a general rule. Time constraints should not be confused with deadlines. All scholarships have deadlines; otherwise, students would be confused about when they are eligible to enter and when they must submit an application. As previously mentioned in the common scams section, time pressure is a tactic used to force you to decide without giving it much thought. This increases your chances of becoming a victim of a scam.
Use your intuition
Trusting your instincts is one way to avoid scams. When you come across a case of fraud, your brain will likely flash red lights. Whether those lights are telling you to do more research before applying for a scholarship or to stay away entirely, you are usually correct.
Finally, the best advice anyone can give to avoid becoming a scholarship scam victim is to strictly adhere to the safety precautions outlined above. Remember that reporting scams can help alleviate the problem by providing additional information to authorities and raising awareness. As a result, innocent students are protected from imposters
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