3 Tips to Avoid Scholarship Scams
It’s no secret that scholarships are a great way to find free money for college. While it’s now easier than ever to search for scholarship opportunities online, easier navigation on the internet also makes it easier for online scammers.
Unfortunately, many families have fallen victim to scholarship scammers who are stealing millions of dollars from families every year. Your goal is to get money for college, and it shouldn’t cost you anything to apply for scholarships.
The good news is that there are red flags to look out for to avoid becoming the victim of a scholarship scam. A general rule of thumb – if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Learn the signs to protect yourself against being defrauded and find scholarships that are right for you. Here are 3 tips to avoid scholarship scams:
- Be cautious of fees: Applying for scholarships should not cost money. Be cautions of scholarships with application fees and never pay to get scholarship information. Scholarship databases are free and readily available online. Be on the lookout for phrases like “Guaranteed or your money back.” Scholarship websites can’t guarantee that you will win a scholarship because they’re not deciding on the winner. Legitimate scholarships won’t require an upfront fee when you submit the application.
- Protect your data: Never reveal financial information such as your social security number, credit card numbers, checking information or bank account numbers to apply for scholarships. Scholarship scammers could use this information to commit identity theft.
- Get a second opinion: If you’re still unsure, talk with trusted organizations about which websites they recommend. School counselors, librarians, financial aid offices, and local community organizations have knowledge and tools to guide you in the right direction.
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