5 things a student should know about an Advance Fee Scam or Nigerian Scam or 419 Scam

Watch out for these common tricks used by advance fee scammers

Advanced Fee Scam

The culmination of high school is an important milestone in a student’s life. It is a medley of various feelings such as happiness, tearful goodbyes and the excitement to get through their coveted college or university. However, the excitement often fades away into the nightmarish scenario that most students are faced with, having piles of blank college application forms in front of them! This is the opportunity that scammers involved in Advance Fee Scam also known as Nigerian Scam and 419 Letters, wait to grab.

Each year, the college admission season sees thousands of parents and students fall for such notorious scammers. Known as advance fee scams, 419 letters or Nigerian scams, it involves fraudsters demanding an advance fee from victims under the false pretext of offering a scholarship or an admission in one’s dream college. Of course with the average annual tuition fee in the US being $33,215 and that in India being around ₹350,000, they know exactly how to take advantage of the concern of students and parents over the high tuition fee and loan debts.

So with the myriad options of getting an easy financial aid at your disposal, how do you make out the difference between the unscrupulous sources and the authentic ones? Here’s how you can stay wary of the common tactics and tricks used by scammers so that you or your kin do not fall for them.

“November 2, 2017, saw a multi-crore scholarship scam under the post-matric scholarship scheme being unfolded in Punjab, India, involving a number of educational institutions and the department officials themselves.”

1. Money-back guarantee on scholarships

The unrealistic and bogus scenario such as guaranteeing a scholarship against a fee is something that sounds believable only inside the devious mind of a scammer! Students should bear in mind that no scholarship is awarded without a merit or other parameters. So if someone ever tells that your child has been pre-approved for an educational loan or a scholarship, it is surely a scam! An authentic source always works on the basis of a robust review of applications.

2. Asking for credit card details to confirm eligibility

“Please provide us your credit card details so that we are able to lock the scholarship for you and confirm your eligibility!”
Anyone who utters such a farcical statement and demands your personal information should immediately ring the alarm bells in your head. It is definitely the work of a scammer and one must not extend the communication any further! Disclosing personal financial information could not only make you a victim of a monetary theft but could also make you vulnerable to an identity theft.

3. Free invitation to online seminars

This starts off with scammers sending students an email invitation to a free seminar in which a student is mostly shown a presentation on the possible problems he is likely to face while applying for a financial aid. Having created this fear and anxiety, scammers then provide them with options that would open the windows to achieving a hassle-free scholarship or educational loan. They then lure them or their parents into paying an enormous consultation fee to help them find the financial aid of choice.

4. The savior phone call

The end of high school subjects students to the long and strenuous ordeal of getting into a reputed college or varsity and also make arrangements for the ever-increasing tuition fee. Under such stressful circumstances, what could be more welcome than a phone call informing the student of a college scholarship or grant that he has won? Anxious students end up providing the scammers their confidential bank information to pay them a processing fee only to realize later that they have been fooled! Please remember that no scholarship/grant would ever require the payment of any processing fee.

5. Fake Websites

Forget phone calls or phished emails, one would feel that applying directly to the concerned scholarship’s website would be a foolproof method to obtain the financial aid. Well, the bad news is that it isn’t so! Advance fee scammers have risen to the next level of fooling students and parents into paying an advance fee to avail of a scholarship/grant by creating look-alike websites. These websites have all the names and words that one may use as a benchmark for authenticity but do not let that get to you. Remember that a scholarship is your right, not a privilege that you would get in exchange for money!

Although genuine sources always have warnings for students to be cautious of such crooks who promise impractical and unrealistic benefits, hapless students desperate to get admission into colleges inevitably end up falling prey to such scammers. So, if you or your kin have been the victims of Nigerian Scam or 419 Letters or Advance Fee Scam, Incognito Forensic Foundation (IFF Lab) based in Bangalore, India, can help you seek justice.

They assist law enforcement agencies in nabbing the perpetrators by leveraging their core expertise of digital and cyber forensics. That, coupled with their state-of-the-art forensic laboratory enables them to retrieve and analyze obliterated, damaged or modified data, and verify the authenticity of unsolicited emails. They have a robust intelligence, security and incident response team which is adept at taking prompt action to stall and mitigate attacks and potential threats.

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