1. Application Fee: Beware of a "scholarship" which requests an
application fee. Most legitimate sponsors do not require any application fee.
2. Other Fees: If you must pay money to get information about an
apply for the award, or receive the award, it might be a scam.
Beware of 900 telephone services, which charge you a fee of several
dollars a minute for the call.
3. Guaranteed Winnings: No legitimate scholarship sponsor will
that you will win the award. Also be wary of any guarantees you
will receive a minimum amount of financial aid - usually such
guarantees are counting the federal student aid programs and private
student loan programs, for which most people are eligible.
4. Everybody is Eligible: Scholarship sponsors do not hand out
awards to students simply for breathing.
5. Unsolicited Opportunities: Most scholarship sponsors will only
contact you in response to your inquiry.
6. Typing or Spelling Errors: If the application materials contain
and spelling errors, or lack of overall professional appearance,
it may be a scam.
7. No Telephone Number: Most legitimate scholarship programs include a
telephone number for inquiries with their application materials.
8. Mail Drop for a Return Address: If the return address is a mail
(e.g., a box number) or a residential address, it is possibly a
scam. If a legitimate scholarship program uses a mail box, they
almost always include their street address (and telephone numbers) in
9. Operating Out of Residence: Since when did a major nonprofit
corporation operate out of a home or apartment? This isn't a
sure sign of a scam, because there are legitimate home- based
businesses, but a residential address can tell you something about the
size of the organization.
10. Masquerading as a Federal Agency: If the offer comes from an
organization with an official sounding name like
"National Science Federation", "National Scholarship Foundation",
or "National Science Program", check whether there really is a federal
agency with that name.
11. Time Pressure: If you must respond quickly and won't hear about the
results for several months. It might be a scam. A scholarship scam might
say that grants are handed out on a "first- come, first-serve" basis and
urge you to act quickly.
12. Unusual Requests for Personal Information: If the application asks
to disclose bank account numbers, credit card numbers, calling
card numbers, or a social security numbers, it is probably a scam.
13. Notification by Phone: If you won a scholarship, you will receive
written notification by mail, not by phone. If phone call
asks you for money, hang up.
14. High Success Rates: Overstated claims of effectiveness are a good
tip-off to a scam. For an example, a claim of 96% rate probably
is counting the number of clients who are matched to awards, not
the number of clients who receive money.
15. Excessive Hype: Scams try to get you so excited that you'll ignore
your natural sense of caution. If the advertisement used the phrase "Free
money," "Win your fair share," or "Every body is eligible, " or mentions
"6.6 billion unused scholarships," be careful.
16. Distinguished Advertisement: Sometimes the person making the
recommendations will earn a commission on every client they direct to the
company. A "department" number in the address, an offer number, or a
telephone "extension" number may be identified which agent should get the
17. A Newly-formed Company: Ask the company how long it has been in
business. If it was formed recently, ask for references. Most
philanthropic foundations have been established for years.
18. A Florida or California Address: A disproportionate number of scams
seem to originate from Florida to California.
As a general rule, if you pay money to get money, it might be a scam.