Most students who are planning to go to college will try to win a scholarship to fund their study. There are so many students are competing to win those scholarship dollars, scholarship scams have become a booming business. These fraudulent programs do their best to imitate legitimate scholarship programs sponsored by government agencies, charitable foundations, and corporations and try to take money from their victims without giving away any free money. Here are some common techniques used by online scholarship scams to take money from you; get yourself alert and avoid these common online scholarship scams.
Common Online Scholarship Scams Most scholarships scams will try to request money during the application process. You will usually ask to pay for all kinds of fees during the scholarship application process. The scholarship sponsors may charge what they call an application fee, entrance fee, reading fee, judging fee, or administrative fee. You may also ask to pay a processing or handling fee just to receive a copy of scholarship application form or to request more details information about the scholarship.
Other than those kinds of fees, scams may pile on the hidden fees after you have submitted an application. You may receive an email or mail notification saying that you have won a scholarship, but to collect it, you must first pay a “disbursement” or “redemption” fee. A warning alert should be immediate triggered once you receive the message asking you to pay money in order to receive your scholarship award, because no legitimate scholarship program will ask you to pay any money in order to receive money that you have supposedly won.
Do you know that most of scholarships are tax-free? If you do not know, you may fall into the trap of scholarship scam when you are asked to pay for taxes on your scholarship award. Be aware that you only have to pay taxes on a scholarship award if you use the money for other purpose than paying your tuition fee; for example you use the scholarships money to buy a new computer, to pay for room’s rental or spending in paying the cost of traveling from and to the campus. Even if you need to pay taxes for your scholarship award because of these reasons, you should never have to pay federal, state, or sales taxes to organization giving you the scholarship; instead, any required taxes should pay directly to IRS.
Another technique used by scholarships scam that may causes you expose to identity theft, you may be asked to disclose a bank account or credit card number in order to hold the scholarship. Never give out information like this, not even if the sponsor insists it is required to process the scholarship that you have already won. No legitimate scholarship programs would ask for it.
How to Avoid Scholarship Scams? While a few legitimate scholarship programs do charge an entrance or administrative fee, the majority do not charge anything at all. Hence, to be safe, limit your scholarship applications to scholarship programs that don’t charge any fees to apply. If you are asked to pay for any hidden cost after you have submitted your application form, turn your scholarship hunt to elsewhere because there are many other legitimate scholarship programs that are free of charge in application.
Summary To avoid getting taken by scholarship scams, watch out for offers that seem too good and ask you to pay an up front fee. You must approach every scholarship program with caution and limit your application for scholarships that don’t ask you to pay any fee to apply.