Avoid Online Scholarship Scams in India

Tips and Tricks to Avoid Online Scholarship Scams in India

Scholarships are one of the most essential components of higher education today. With a large demand for scholarships and an equally large supply in the form of several organizations providing it, scholarships have become vulnerable to various scams, duping needy and meritorious students off their educational dreams. Online scholarship scams have become rampant with all your information being sent to possibly dubious entities with just a click of the button. Having a robust strong digital presence and lack of digital security, students today are exceptionally vulnerable to online scholarship scams. Therefore, this article talks about various signs to identify a scholarship scam and tips for you to safeguard yourself against the same.

What makes you vulnerable to scholarship scams?

As a student in school or college or university in India, the expense of getting a decent education drives many towards various Govt and private scholarships across the country. This has led to an increase in the number of online platforms promising scholarships to students, however, not all of them are genuine and trustworthy. These tough times in the past year have driven a greater number of students towards online scholarship platforms, making them exceptionally more vulnerable than ever before. 

Unfortunately, I have learned the tips and tricks to avoid these scholarship scams over the years, the hard way, but I hope that my experience will help you in making the right, and informed choices to ensure a safe experience of applying to various scholarships.

Tip 1 - A little caution never hurts anybody!

While there is no doubt that the digitization of every aspect of our life made living easier and more convenient, it has also opened us up to newer threats and challenges. Online financial scams are one of the biggest and most rampant threats in today’s digital society. Refraining from all online activities is not a feasible solution, neither is ignoring the threat completely. Thus, we must tread cautiously on the web of the internet, especially while accessing services like online scholarships.

Tip 2 - tell-tale signs of a scholarship scam

In this section, I will familiarize you with a few tells take sounds to help you have a scam–free online scholarship application experience.

  • Banking details: This is an easy one! Any scholarship portal that asks you for your Net Banking password, ATM pin, CVV number, or your OTP, is trying to defraud you, leave that website/ delete that app instantly. No matter how genuine they seem or sound over call never give the above-mentioned details to any person/ organization.
  • Approach you first: If a scholarship app/ website approaches you announcing that you have won scholarship money, without even applying, it is a hundred percent phony because nobody wants to give away free money!
  • Too easy to be true: while it is possible that some scholarship tests are easy to, however, if it seems too easy to crack, it is always a good idea to check and move forward cautiously.
  • Ask you for money: Most scholarships do not ask you for any money at any step of the process. However, some scholarships may have an application fee, but remember it will be a minimal amount. Therefore, those scholarships that ask you to pay money, definitely raise a red flag and need a more thorough inspection before application.
  • Unclear rules/ requirements: ambiguity surrounding the terms and conditions of a scholarship can be a red flag.
  • Spelling/ grammar errors: Most genuine scholarships are provided by philanthropists or by government organizations and have zero or minimum spelling/ grammar errors.

Tip 3 - A little research in time saves a dime

Before applying for any scholarship make sure that you research it thoroughly. Visit the website or search for it on a popular search engine like Google. Make sure that more websites are mentioning the scholarship on their blogs/ websites/ apps. However, this is just the first step, to ensure that you are not being duped, try contacting the various numbers, email – IDs, or social media links are given on the scholarship website to ensure legitimacy. Prefer applying to scholarships provided by well/ known or registered philanthropic organizations and cross-check the details about the scholarship by contacting the organizations. For instance, to know about AuroScholar micro scholarships, you can simply search on the web and get several credible links and contacts.

Tip 4 - self-sufficiency is the key to success

Several online and offline organizations offer to provide you services for scholarship application such as writing your application essay or filling your application form. While they may legitimately provide the services, they cannot however guarantee you success with your application, moreover, getting your application filled from a third-party service provider is against the application rules and may get you in legal trouble. As these are mostly not legal, you end up spending an exorbitant amount with no guarantee for success. In fact, you may end up losing more money as you provide your credit/ debit details to such organizations.

Further, any middlemen who claim to ensure a shortcut to application or guarantee scholarship for a fee, are definitely not abiding by the law. These middlemen can 

Tip 5 - Beware of Clickbait.

Many websites or apps today thrive on the business of getting traffic on their platforms through fraudulent processes, using clickbait is one of them. Usually, they will provide you with catchy content, which may often sound too good to be true, beware of such content because the chances are that it is. Some of the popular clickbait phrases are given below:

  • You have been selected.
  • You have won Rs XYZ.
  • You are eligible for a free scholarship.
  • Click the link to claim your money.
  • Guaranteed scholarship, or your money back.
  • Register on our website to receive a scholarship, no application required.
  • Easy scholarship money.

Tip 6 - Limited period offers

Be wary of websites pushing you to submit your application in an unreasonably short amount of time. While most scholarships have a deadline for submission of applications, they generally provide sufficient time for students to apply. If a scholarship provider is pushing you to submit details in a very short time, chances are it is a fake/ fraudulent account.

Scholarship scams can be a disheartening and disenchanting experience for students who genuinely need the scholarships to fulfill their educational aspirations. This is why we hope that this post will help you steer clear of any such scams during your application process.