HOW TO: Avoid Scholarship ScamsMia Pinnock on October 11, 2010 | No Comments »
If you are one of many students searching for a way to pay for college, you have probably discovered that there are loads of free college resources out there. You may have even come across a website or mailed letter that made big scholarship claims, that for whatever reason, just didn’t feel legitimate. You may have been right!
Unfortunately, there are people who prey upon college bound scholarship hunters and their families, trying to steal their personal information or gouge them out of money by pretending to be in-the-know about college scholarships.
How do you keep yourself safe from scholarship scammers? How do you know if a scholarship search site is trustworthy? My College Guide has a few points to keep in mind as you begin (or continue) looking for ways to finance your future and carry on with your scholarship search! It’s like your mama always said: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Getting Personal – There’s no real need for a scholarship site to ask for your social security number, mother’s maiden name, and/or your place of birth. If a website is asking for personal information in exchange for access to their scholarship database – it’s a really good sign that someone is trying to steal your information. Many sites will ask for things like your mailing or email address, but in most cases, they want to be able to contact you in case you forget your registration password or are simply trying to match you up with scholarships located in your area.
100% Guaranteed – If you receive a letter from a supposed scholarship expert that promises guaranteed results, chances are it’s a scam! Of course a guarantee sounds great – who doesn’t love the thought of being awarded a scholarship just for being awesome? Unfortunately, receipt of a scholarship without putting forward any effort filling out scholarship forms or writing an essay, etc. is almost impossible. If you are lucky, they may go so far as to send you a listing of supposed matching scholarships – but the fine print will make it impossible to get back your money (if you get a list at all).
whatnot / arianne
Application Fee – Isn’t $30 a small price to pay for a shot at thousands? Paying an application fee for a shot at winning big scholarship bucks is not a good way to go. It’s kind of like playing the lottery. Sure, someone might win, but there are far more losers. In most cases, this too is a scam and your odds of winning anything (if any money is ever awarded) is extremely small. Scammers tend to not want to let go of their “hard earned dollars” and the majority of students and their families who fall for this one wind up empty-handed.
Sssssh! – To get a super secret scholarship list, send in your payment! It’s quick and easy and can save you hours of scholarship site searches. As painless as that sounds, anyone claiming to possess insider information regarding scholarships is trying to trick you. Lucky for you — scholarship information is always freely available. If you come across anyone asking you for payment in exchange for access to their scholarship database or other super secret list – run away and don’t look back!