Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

Scholarship Scam Warning Signs

Scholarship Scam Warning Signs

  • Fees: Scammers use bogus fees such as "application," "disbursement," "redemption," and "processing fees" as a way to take your money. Scholarships should not require any fees.
  • Credit Card or Bank Account Information Needed: Never give credit card or bank account info to receive aid. If you have, call your bank or credit card issuer immediately.
  • Scholarship Guarantee: No one controls the judges' decisions. Be wary of "high success rates," which often reward to award matches, not award winners.
  • No Work Involved: Legitimate scholarship applications require time. No one should complete them for you.
  • No Contact Information: Be sure to confirm the sponsor's contact info. They should supply a valid e-mail, mailing address and phone number upon request.
  • Unsolicited Scholarships: If you are called to receive an award for which you never applied, be alert. Ask where the sponsor got your contact information.
  • Pressure Tactics: Never allow yourself to be pressured into applying for a scholarship, especially if the sponsor is asking you to pay money up front.
  • Claims of "Exclusive" Scholarships: Legitimate sponsors will not restrict knowledge about their award to a single service.
  • An Official-Sounding Name or Endorsement Does NOT Automatically Mean Legitimacy: A sponsor may use words like "national," "education" or "federal" or have an official looking seal, but might still be a scammer.
  • Your Questions Are Not Answered Directly: Proceed with caution if you are not given a straight forward answer from a sponsor regarding their application, what will be done with your information or other questions.
  • Be wary of any scholarships that have the following phrases:
    • "The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back"
    • "You can't get this information anywhere else"
    • "I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship"
    • "We'll do all the work"
    • "The scholarship will cost some money"
    • "You've been selected" by a "national foundation" to receive a scholarship
    • "You're a finalist" in a contest you never entered

Found a Scam? Been Scammed?

If you do find a scam or become a victim, contact local law enforcement and any of the following organizations:

National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
Ph: 1-800-876-7060, Web:

United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
To report scams found vial postal mail:
Ph: 1-800-654-8896 Web:

Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Be sure to have the address of the company about whom you are filing the complaint.
Ph: 1-703-276-0100, Web:

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Fill out an online complaint form or call toll-free:
Ph: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) Web: