Avoiding tempting scholarship scams
“Congratulations Eric! You have won a $35,000 scholarship for college. To start the transfer, please forward a $75.00 processing fee to…” Believe it or not, a letter such as the one depicted above actually came to my son this year. Obviously, an opening like this would be an eye catcher to be sure. Eventually though most people can see through a scam like this – hopefully! There are guidelines to follow to determine if a scholarship is indeed legitimate.
- Guaranteed Scholarships. In the world of financial assistance there can never be a guarantee other then a guarantee that “Guaranteed Scholarships” never come to fruition.
- Processing Fees. If a processing fee is required, run. Many of these scholarships have disclosure statements that “guarantees the winnings” and further states that, “students will be eligible for a refund.” Come on! This is just an additional scam. In reality, the money never returns to them.
- Rewards Without Entries. Simply put, when an award or prize is given without the student having to submit an application, not only is it surprising, but even more, unbelievable. Beware, beware, beware!
- Free Seminar. This is simply a baiting process to lure parents and students to attend seminars and the organizations will offer attractive materials that will “guarantee your student to qualify for a scholarship!” However, a fee is most likely applied and then followed by a small package of scholarships. Rather then pay this fee visit the school’s guidance counselor or go online to a more credible database. Both of these sources are free.
Students and parents need to protect themselves. Never pay a fee – why would anyone have to shell out money to process a scholarship application? Get plenty of information about the organization. If need be visit the web site of the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) to determine if the organization is legit or not. Don’t fall for these ruses directed at parents and students. Do research and get the right information before proceeding.