We all know how expensive it is to further your education, especially in South Africa. Unfortunately, criminals know this too. Get clued up on ways to spot bursary and scholarship scams. We’ll help you stay two steps ahead of these fraudsters.
Ways to Spot Bursary and Scholarship Scams
It’s important to do research before applying for financial aid. There are many dishonest people who will try to take advantage of students in need. Here are ways to spot bursary and scholarship scams:
Requests for Financial Information
An easy way to spot bursary and scholarship scams is by checking the application form. Legit applications will never ask you for your banking details. If a bursary is awarded to you, the money will be paid directly to your university or college.
Asking you to Pay
Bursary and Scholarship scams usually ask people to pay upfront to supposedly guarantee a successful application. Paying to get financial aid? There’s no way that can be valid. Official organisations know that you’re applying for funding because you are financially needy.
Getting a Bursary or Scholarship you Didn’t Apply for
Ignore all offers for bursaries you didn’t apply for. We could all use some financial help, but these emails can easily be part of internet scams such as phishing. Don’t be fooled. Scholarships all require some sort of work, like filling in forms and writing motivational essays.
Offering to do Your Application for you
Bursary and scholarship applications always seem to have endless amounts of paperwork. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. Applications ask for personal details that only you can provide. If a company randomly offers to apply on your behalf (for a small fee), consider it a red flag.
No Proof of Previous Recipients
You should always search the bursary or scholarship provider online. Organisations offering financial aid will always post about successful students on their social media or website. Not being able to find previous winners means it’s likely a scam.
Dead end Links
Social media is usually where bursary and scholarship scams advertise. These posts have links for you to click on so you can apply. But when you get to the website, it’s filled with pop-up ads and no official information on the provider of the bursary. Scammers get paid every time someone clicks the link.
No Minimum Requirements
Bursaries and Scholarships have certain requirements you need to meet before you can apply. This can include proof of financial neediness or a minimum percentage for your academics. If the company doesn’t care about either of these, it’s probably a scam.
Offers Made on a First Come, First Serve Basis
This is NOT how legit providers operate! There is a closing date, then a group of people will get together and look at all the applications they received. They will then choose the best candidates from the group. Bursaries are not handed out one-by-one in a weekly draw.
Where to Report Bursary and Scholarship Scams
If you spot bursary and scholarship scams, don’t ignore it. Report them so others don’t become victims. Here’s who you can contact:
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