BBB Highlights New Scholarship Scams Targetting Students

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

Scammers are offering fake scholarships to steal data and money from students, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

With the cost of tuition for 4-year universities hitting $22,000 on average, many students are feeling increased pressure to rely on financial aid, scholarships, and loans. Unfortunately, that also makes them a target for scammers looking to steal their information and money.

“For students struggling to pay tuition, a sudden offer of a grant or scholarship can look like a dream come true. But it could be bait for a scam. This con hooks victims with the promise of money, but upfront ‘fees’ never actually materialize into those much-needed funds.” the BBB said.

Unfortunately, these scammers often impersonate the government, nonprofit organizations, or universities to offer their scholarships. Regardless of where the scams come from, they all operate relatively similarly.

Representatives, using buzzwords like “national” or “federal” will attempt to convince students that they’ve won a scholarship without needing to apply, or that they ought to quickly apply for a special scholarship that applies uniquely to them. In both cases, a one-time fee will need to be paid in order to access your money and naturally, once you pay, they’re gone.

“In another variation, a check arrives for the scholarship, and instructions are included to send back payment for taxes or fees. The check turns out to be a fake, and you’re out whatever money was sent,” the BBB warned.

Due to the sensitive nature of applications, oftentimes students can be tricked into giving out tons of their personal information as well, making them a potential target in future cyberattacks.

The BBB offers some helpful tips for students.

  • Beware of unsolicited offers.
  • Take your time.
  • Ask lots of questions (hackers won’t have good answers).
  • Ask your guidance counselor or a financial aid office.
  • Be skeptical.
  • Ask about fees.
  • Be cautious about bouncing checks that look real.

Above all, it’s most important to remember that the vast majority of scholarships will never ask you for money.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."

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