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3 Solid Ways to Quickly Spot Fake Scholarships and Scams
Fake scholarships and scams are unfortunately increasing and are oh-so tempting to the unsuspecting student. Don’t miss this important information!
Unfortunately, many of those scholarship opportunities listed are clickbait designed by companies whose main goal is to get as much information as possible from unsuspecting students and their parents.
How do parents and students differentiate between real scholarship offers and scholarship scams?
Our time is precious, let’s not waste it applying for fake scholarships!
To get answers, I interviewed Jessica Velasco, owner of JLV College Counseling, and asked her a very similar question.
Jessica, how can students and parents tell if a scholarship is real or just a scam to gather (and later sell) student information?
Her answers were spot on and too good not to share with my blog readers:
- If it costs money to apply for a scholarship, it is most likely a scam.
- Consider the website, if there are spelling or grammar errors, it may be a scam.
- Review the website to see if it feels legitimate. Follow your gut and if something seems off, it may be a scam.
Here on how2winscholarships, I frequently receive messages from companies and organizations offering college scholarships to students. They ask if I would help spread the word about their scholarship opportunities with my blog readers.
Lately, I have noticed a sharp increase in shady or questionable scholarships, mostly because of the information obtained after going to the page that shares the scholarship guidelines and requirements.
These pages are filled with grammar and spelling errors and just seem iffy to me. No matter how great the scholarship sounds, I will never share or promote questionable scholarship opportunities on my website, Facebook Group (Parents only), or Facebook page.
Fake scholarships are NOT welcome here!
Just like Jessica’s advice, I caution parents and students to not waste their valuable time applying for scholarships that show signs of being scams.
A few more red flags to watch for are those scholarships that require student social security numbers or sites that guarantee a student will win a certain amount of money (usually for a fee). Click away from these sites and only apply for scholarships that seem legitimate.
How about those “Honor Societies” that send out letters to students that are “carefully selected and chosen” to join?
Could they contain fake scholarships?
While not exactly scams (these actually are real businesses), they require a fee to apply for a CHANCE at winning their scholarships.
Here is the biggest red flag of all when it comes to “Honor Societies” (NSHSS being one such company – National Society of High School Scholars)
Pets receive these letters! Yes, that’s right. I’ve read it over and over in various high school and college parent groups.
My dog…Sammy Bo Bammy. He gets an invite every 6 months.
Or parents, yes, those of us in midlife…
I graduated high school in 1979!! My daughter started getting this about a year ago and I get one at the same time!!
Also, young children.
My second grader received a letter saying he was chosen and invited to join the National Society of High School Scholars. He isn’t even in high school yet!
Mainly students, but it doesn’t seem to matter if they are worthy of academic honors.
Had a friend that dropped out after Junior year with a 1.8 gpa, who got the “exclusive invite” letter for “excellent academic standards.” We had a good laugh at that one. Not legit.
I strongly recommend that this letter is tossed into the trash if it arrives at your house!
You may also like to read: Do NOT Pay to Apply for College Scholarships3 Solid Ways to Quickly Spot Fake Scholarships and Scams Click To Tweet
Have you ever come across a scholarship opportunity that seemed like a scam? What are your thoughts on “Honor Societies” such as the NSHSS? Please share in the comments section below!
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Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regard to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets, and more have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars. She teaches them how to apply S.M.A.R.T. with outstanding results.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites, and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.
It’s so disappointing that this happens
Disappointing and frustrating. We have to keep fighting and spreading awareness though. 🙂
It’s a slightly different process here in the UK but I was offered a scholarship in my first year of university, only to discover that it was a part scholarship and I was expected to pay the other half…
That’s interesting, Suzie. What did you end up doing?
Great tips – scammers work overtime, don’t they? If people follow your advice they can outsmart them!
That’s my hope, Molly. Scammers are awful! 🙁
Ugh, scammers do get everywhere. Good for you for spreading awareness!
Darn scammers! Thanks for reading and commenting, Em! 🙂
Especially scary about the social security numbers that go out…to the wrong people. Very valuable information, Monica.
Thank you so much, Laurie!
I would never have thought that some would be fake! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.
Pretty sad, isn’t it, Elena? Thanks for reading!
I’m amazed that scholarships can be scammed! The tips should help though – in fact I’m always wary of anybwebsites that have glaring spelling mistakes or written grammatically incorrect for the country the website is supposed to be from.
Right, Linda, and I’m always amazed that these scammers don’t use something like Grammerly to proofread their website pages. Crazy!
Ugh those fake society ones are the WORST! I remember getting those constantly when I was younger and given that my oldest is 4, I expect his will be in the mail any day 😉
Isn’t it crazy, Amber? I’m kind of sad that my dog hasn’t gotten one though. She is quite smart… 😉
WOW! So many scams! Your info is so helpful, I would probably give out the SS#!!
Thank you so much, Christina!
It is so frustrating that parents and teens have to weed through fake scholarships that are trying to steal identities. It might scare some off of applying for legitimate ones. Thank you for sharing this information to keep everyone on the safe path.
Yes, so frustrating and it keeps many students from applying at all. I hope my info helps them discern the genuine ones from the fake ones.
Scamming is an overwhelming sport that has been around for centuries. Technology though has truly brought it more into our day to day routines. :/
I agree, Jess. We all need to become more aware of these tricky evil scammers!
It sure is a whole new world we live in, always worrying if what we find online is legitimate. On the plus side the internet offers so much more opportunity then ever thought possible in the days not so long ago when it wasn’t around.
Very good point, Chris. Scholarships are definitely easier for students to find because of the internet.
Even school education they have to mess with!? Awful how these scammers seem to “breed”. I am still always kinda shocked when reading your articles because it makes me realize how expensive a good education nowadays is. And how many talented students probably never get a fair chance just because the parents aren’t wealthy enough. What a weird system. How much easier was all this for our parents, it must be heartbreaking if you can’t give your child everything you would like to give, just for the blimey money!
Well said, Klaudia! I hope to inspire parents and their students to apply for as many scholarships as possible so they don’t have to take on too much student debt. My son graduated from college debt-free and I am so proud of him for his dedication to working with me in the scholarship process.
I’m currently being pursued by an online Univ., they’re offering a scholarship that allows me to pay only up to 20% as a co-pay once accepted. The requirements for the scholarship is me sending in my cv, passport photo or driver’s license and my last degree. This online univ. is based in Cali., there were to professors who’s contacted me, both of them claim to be native Californians, however their phone numbers both have east-coast area codes. Does this sound like a scam in your opinion?
Yes, it does. Call the school directly and talk to the financial aid office.