Ways to Spot Bursary and Scholarship Scams

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall prey to criminal antics on your journey to higher education. In this article we offer you some top tips on ways to spot bursary and scholarship scams.

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. 

A person holding a bursary and scholarship scams paper with the word scam on it and a calculator next to them Study with us today.

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:

  • Report the scam to SAPS, cybercrimes are still crimes: 0860 010 111 (tip-off line)
  • Contact companies directly if you think their name is being used to scam people
  • Cybercrime is a website where you can be updated on and report the latest scams in South Africa
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Last Updated: June 3, 2022

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tamsyn Gallie
Tamsyn Gallie
Tamsyn Gallie is a Junior Content Writer at Skills Academy. Her aim is to create content that is well-researched, educational and engaging. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, baking and anything that allows her to be creative. She is passionate about lifelong learning and believes it’s never too late to learn something new.