Online Education Scams: From Tuition Fees to Non-Existent Institutions
Scammers are everywhere in the outside world – whether they're two-bit grifters or giant corporate machines. And yet despite knowing that there's a con artist around every corner, the idea that certain institutions might dupe you can feel especially unfair.
Higher education, for instance, can be a minefield of bluffs, double-crosses and corruption that make these reputable institutions seem like complete shysters.
With rising tuition fees and living costs at a premium, the increasing prevalence of education scams might make people want to sidestep universities altogether. However, there is still a broad range of trustworthy universities available, from Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning's exceptional curriculum to well-known Russell Group institutions.
Many scams have either been enacted on universities or inflicted on students. Here are a few of the most notorious ones.
Trump University was a for-profit organization run by the now-45th US President, Donald Trump, and his company, the Trump Organisation. It ran from 2005 until 2010 and claimed to provide real estate training programs for anyone who could stump up the cash.
By the time it had closed, it had accrued several class-action lawsuits against it. Students paid more than $20,000 to enroll, despite Trump University not even being a real educational institution. The promise was that students would learn entrepreneurial secrets from Donald Trump himself.
One of the many accusations against Trump during the lawsuits against him was that he encouraged students to enroll in increasingly expensive seminars to receive more 'information'. This was a scam that lost its many victims a lot of money.
2019 College Admissions Bribery Scandal
The 2019 college admissions bribery scandal was a plot by some wealthy people who attempted to influence undergraduate admissions at several top American universities. At least 51 people were implicated in the scandal, many of whom have pleaded guilty to the accusations.
Most notable in this scam is the number of A-list celebrities who were involved. One star was actor Felicity Huffman, who admitted to paying $15,000 to have her daughter's exams secretly corrected in 2017. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison, as well as 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine. The scandal has also pushed the issue of wealth privilege into the public arena, with pupils who played by the rules of admission denied access to universities in favour of those who had paid bribes.
Phishing scams are ten-a-penny online, but universities have been hit especially hard by them. Numerous fraudsters have been posing as university networks to lure students and staff members into handing over their private information. This trick has been working.
Many of these problems affect new students who are unused to the university's email system, and their lack of familiarity costs them money.
Thankfully, educational scams are the exception rather than the rule, but hopefully, this article has raised your awareness so that you spend your time and cash wisely.
We'd like to hear your experience with education scams. Let us know in the comments below.
Online Education Scams: How To Report Them
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