Is this a new type of scam
February 14, 2017 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Are these scholarship program requests shady?

I have been receiving emails past my usual spam filters advertising scholarship programs. An example is here and conforms to the style of not asking for pertinent personal information BUT it seems to be asking the applicant to provide content for free, in essence. Am I just being a paranoid academic or is this shady? I only want to forward legitimate things to students. If this is a scam I want to warn students from responding to them.
posted by jadepearl to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
 
There are many shady solicitations out there. Fwiw, this one doesn't seem that off to me - a small award size for a seemingly legitimate small business - but there are definitely others that students shouldn't waste their time with. Generally speaking, I think you're better off referring them to places like fastweb which does its own quality screening, instead of forwarding rando scholarships that may give them an inaccurate air of legitimacy.
posted by Think_Long at 9:25 AM on February 14, 2017


Seems like just a modern-day update of the old American Legion "Write an essay about what patriotism means to you!" scholarship program -- the awarders get some publicity and a few kids get a few bucks for college (and some publicity as well, which is kinda nice too). Yes, it's a trade of content for a small chance of reward, but I wouldn't call it a scam.
posted by Etrigan at 9:27 AM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


In most scholarships, the sponsor does not receive any benefit, such as a publicity benefit, except from people to whom the scholarship is actually awarded. This is different in that I presume most of the links and publicity Target Tamers will get is from people who don't get a scholarship. So I see it as cheap advertising first and a scholarship second, although maybe not a scam in the same way that one that required a cash payment for application would be.
posted by grouse at 10:12 AM on February 14, 2017


I'd say if it's not an organization that's willing to put at least one person's real legal name, the legal name of the entity, and some kind of external contact information on the website? Then I wouldn't trust it enough to forward it on to others. It's not just that they're asking people to create content in exchange for a chance at a cash prize--it's that there's not much indication that they're reliable enough to even be awarding the actual cash. There's no mention of 2016 winners on the website, for example.

I wouldn't forward on anything that asks for stuff like a postal address and phone number that's been posted by companies that won't provide that much information themselves. I think that works reasonably well as a rule of thumb. There's no real information to even suggest what country this company is incorporated in. It's not necessarily going to be a full-fledged scam, but there's also nothing to suggest they're solvent enough to actually write two $500 checks next December.
posted by Sequence at 12:17 PM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


As follow up, I have been getting a scholarship offers every day. Some vary in quality in English usage, contact information and Whois lookups. I wish there was a flood of orgs wanting to help out college students and if there are I wish their communications were done better. But for right now, I am putting this under shady.
posted by jadepearl at 6:20 PM on February 18, 2017


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