Protect Yourself From Scholarship Scams
Unfortunately, many scholarship scams look and sound like legitimate scholarship opportunities at first. Individuals and organizations suspected of perpetuating scholarship scams are held accountable under the Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act of 2000 and convictions carry stiff financial penalties as well as jail time.
Even though scholarship scams are illegal, they are still very common. Scholarship scams are so widespread that the Federal trade Commission's website includes a page dedicated specifically to how to spot and report them www.ftc.gov/scholarshipscams.
To protect yourself, it is important to know how legitimate scholarship programs work. You will never have to pay a fee to apply for a legitimate scholarship, nor will a legitimate scholarship program request money to cover processing. There are no circumstances under which a scholarship provider will need your credit card or bank account information. Legitimate scholarship search services help you find scholarships for which you are eligible but they cannot take care of completing applications for you.
Warning Signs of Scholarship Scams
- The organization guarantees you will win an award as a result of paying a fee
- The organization sounds like a non-profit but has no traceable history
- The organization claims it will “handle all your scholarship applications” for you
- The organization requests banking or credit card information to “process your application”
- The organization requires an entrance fee