The Basics of Education & Scholarship Scams
There are many scams out there that target people who are trying to get an education. Some of these scams involve promising free or low-cost scholarships, but then requiring the student to pay an upfront fee. Others may involve fake online schools that claim to be accredited but aren’t or promise degrees for little to no work. These education scams and scholarship scams can take many different forms, but they all have one goal in mind: to steal your money or personal information.
3 Common Tactics Used by Education and Scholarship Scammers
There are several common tactics that scammers use to trick people who are looking to further their education into giving them money or personal information, such as:
- Posing as a legitimate organization. Scammers will create a fake website or email address that looks very similar to a legitimate organization, such as a scholarship provider or college. They may even use the same logo or branding.
- Offering guaranteed scholarships for a fee. Scammers will contact students directly and try to convince them to pay an “application fee” or “processing fee” in order to receive the scholarship.
- Claiming to be able to provide students with a legitimate diploma or degree, without the student having to actually attend any classes or do any coursework.
Common Types of Education Scams
- Fake Scholarship Scams: Scammers will trick people into applying for the nonexistent scholarship. Other times, scammers will contact students directly and try to convince them to pay a fee to apply for the scholarship.
- Student Loan Scams: Some scammers will set up fake websites that look like they’re from a legitimate lender, in order to get students to apply for a loan through them. Other times, scammers will contact students directly and try to convince them to pay an “advance fee” in order to apply for a loan.
- Federal Loan Forgiveness Scams: These scams can promise to forgive all or part of your student loans, but they may end up leaving you in more debt than before. They may also require you to make payments to them, rather than to your loan servicer.
- Diploma Mills: These companies claim to be able to provide students with a legitimate diploma or degree, without attending any classes or doing any coursework.