Online Education Scam and Fraud Prevention Tips

Online Education Scam and Fraud Prevention Tips

While earning a legitimate degree online is feasible, there are certain necessary precautions that you must take in order to protect yourself. Not only do you need to be sure the institute you choose to obtain a degree from is accredited, but you also have to know who to keep your personal information from in order to avoid fraud and scams. In 2010, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to perform undercover testing at several for-profit colleges that encouraged registration through websites that linked prospective attendees with universities. The operation indicated the uncovering of fraudulent practices among recruiters who purposefully mislead potential students with false and unclear information pertaining to total school cost and length of programs.

While you may be able to earn some college credit from the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), full and accredited degrees based on life experience just do not exist. Any online program that offers you a diploma or degree in an unbelievably short amount of time for an extremely low price is most likely too good to be true. Investigate the school in question by contacting the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the United States Department of Education's database of accredited higher education institutions. You want to make sure the school you do end up attending is accredited so the degree you earn will be recognized by other schools and future employers. Some schools will have a long list of accredited recognitions that may sound impressive, but most often they are not recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Another good practice to take up when researching online education institutes is to never believe what the school or a representative you may be contacted by says until you explore and confirm the statements yourself. If a school claims to be located in a certain state, obtain their physical address and check to make sure there is an actual university there. Be wary of P.O. Box addresses and suites as this could be a person's apartment or drop box. The BBB or the state Attorney General's office can confirm or deny whether or not the school in question is operating legally. You can also find out through these same channels if there have been any complaints filed against the university. If there have been, do not trust the "company".

A website maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) known as offers practical tips from various government agencies and top groups from the technology industry that should be employed in order to protect yourself.

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