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WSAF 2010 Scholarship Fraud- The Update

Two days ago I published a post titled The World Scholars Alumni Foundation Scholarship 2010. SCAM? You Must Read This — a scholarship program I suspected to be a scam/ fraud after I received a mail from a student in India. The World Scholars Alumni Foundation Scholarship 2010 opened application to Students from developing countries, for either undergraduate, Masters, PhD or Doctoral degrees, in any course of study and at any university of their choice in the world. But suspicions were aroused when the shortlisted candidates began recieving similar mails to pay $110 for student membership fee and $94.25 for fingerprint service. On investigation I was able to come up with a few points from the scholarship opportunity announcement that makes the foundation even more questionable, and encouraged involved students to discuss their views and observations. The post recieved over 60 comments in 24 hours. With a few comments, it was no longer an argument as to whether the scholarship foundation was legitimate or not. The interesting comments from involved students saw to a clear understanding that they have been dealing with fraudsters all the while.

However, as this discussion was -and is still- going on, it’s rather unfortunate that despite all the numerous websites and blogs about scholarships online, there was hardly any site online where this information is shared. I openly started the discussion on this blog and went on to post comments, emails and forum discussions on various websites on my suspicion. I even contacted the scholarship websites where these entire scheme took off, and until now, I’m yet to recieve a reply. This goes to show how much you should investigate the information you find online.

The story of this fraudulent act started here on; but try to search the discussion on google and see how deep you have to search to find it. In fact what you will find on the first few pages are the same reviews on the scholarship foundation. This goes to explain how unreliable the search engines can be sometimes.
That you don’t find an information on the first few pages on google does not mean they don’t exist
And that you find a webpage on google’s front pages does not mean it’s the most credible information source. Search Engines- or call them Robots- are more interested in Search Engine Optimization and page ranks than providing you with the most relevant results. You need to know how to manipulate the robots to get desired results.

Searching for scholarships can be this tricky. In the article on How to Search for Scholarships on Google, I explained a few tricks on Google search to maximize your search results.

Still talking about WSAF 2010 scholarship scam/ fraud, there are still more grounds to be covered. If we (it’s a we-thing now considering the current movement) are not mistaken, there could be tens of thousands of students that have submitted their applications to this program and a larger percentage of them will be contacted to pay $204.25 for the so-called student membership fee and fingerprint services. It is our (by ‘OUR’ I mean your and My) duty to get the word around and save as much potential victims as we can. If the dirty minds behind this racket could plan and execute their evil scheme, then nothing could stop us from working collectively at our own pace to stop them.

You have a network, don’t you? I mean like friends on facebook, twitter, Myspace, blogs or any other such networks. Tell them this story and encourage them to do the same. The target audience for this scam are students from developing countries, and if you already know, $204.25 could be more than an average workers monthly earning. What would you expect from a parent that can hardly take care of the family, losing such amount of money only to find out it was a wasted resources?

I actually started this post to explain the outcome of the discussion so far but I think we’ve already done justice to it. I wouldn’t want this post to be a long one for easy consumption. You can read the initial post with all the interesting comments HERE. It speaks for itself. What matters now is that possible losses worth millions of dollars is prevented.

In the course of the discussion, one of the involved students – Kate Pluto – suggested to create a FaceBook Group for all affected students to form one voice. You can join the group HERE.

Go write on your facebook wall, click a Like Button, write or retweet a tweet, write a blog post, post on forums; just put something somewhere. One message from you may just save a poor, desperate and ambitious student from losing his life savings.

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