How To Protect Yourself From Online Tutoring Scams in 2020
The last ten years have seen the popularity of online tutoring and paper writing services take off to an unprecedented level. For whatever subject a person needs tutoring in or whatever paper, essay, or dissertation they need to be done, there is a site out there that will specialize in one or cover them all.
This has also led to the same people creeping into this new field just as they have every other area: scammers. Yes, education is a field that is also full of people wanting to take people’s money for little or no work, but this online market is the latest to be exploited. Here are a few tips on how to protect against online tutoring scams:
1. Do They Have Actual Talent?
An actual tutoring site has real tutors to help students with whatever subject they’re struggling with. This isn’t the end-all and be-all of whether or not a tutoring site is legitimate, but it can be a red flag. Most tutoring sites want you to sign up and use their services, so they want to show their wares.
The “wares”, in this case, is their talent. They want you to know that Mister X is a former teacher of twenty-five years’ experience, or that Missus Y is a professor with thirty years of lecturing behind her. So, always look for talent. If it’s missing, then there might be a problem.
2. What Are People Saying About Their Service Online?
A simple general search on the website in question will usually get the right amount of results. Many of these results will have people and sites across the web who have used that service and given it a review. Please take a look at the top five and see what they have to say.
Not all of them will be five-star reviews, but they should average out to something respectable, like four stars. If the reviews appear to be consistently bad, it might be a scam.
3. What Do Independent Critics Say?
The best way to find out if any site is legitimate is to see how independent sites rate them. Casinos, online computer stores, and tutoring services all have websites that gather reviews and testimonials. They then take all of that input and give the site a rating.
Not all of these sites are real themselves, but looking at four or five of them will give you an idea of how other people have rated tutoring service. If they give it five stars, then you probably have found the best tutoring program! If, however, the site is only given one star, for instance, then the reviews themselves are likely to point out that the site isn’t legitimate.
4. What Kind of Support Do They Have?
This is where you need to ask a few questions and see what happens. It might not even be a bad idea to make a phone call or two. A genuine tutoring service will offer full support in many different ways. There should be more than an e-mail, which anyone can answer. There should also be a phone number to call and even a live chat.
Yes, going this far does seem like an awful lot of trouble. The best way to look at it is to ask yourself if the money you’re going to be spending is worth fifteen minutes of snooping. The answer is, usually, yes!
5. How Simple is That Website?
People who can afford to bring on the staff to man an entire online business need tutors, online team standing by to answer questions, and even a small call center to answer calls as they come in. The truth is, if they can afford all of this, they can put money into their website.
After all, the genuine article counts on business coming through that site, and they want it to look professional and layered. A website for a tutoring service that looks like someone put it together in a day or two should be a huge red flag, indicating that something is wrong.
6. They Should Have Good Software
If possible, take a tour of the service and find out how they do their tutoring. This is where using one of the live chats or asking a few questions over the phone comes in handy. Not only do you confirm that their support is real, but you can also find out what virtual classroom software they have.
Again, here, an excellent service uses good software. These professionals should be using virtual classrooms that are streamlined, easy to use, and, most importantly, have great online reputations. If you learn that they’re using free software that isn’t that great, then it might be time to move on.
7. Look at Their Payment Options
There are small businesses online that haven’t advanced to the point that they feel the need to set up anything more than PayPal for payment, but a tutoring service is different. For those kinds of businesses, they employ dozens, perhaps even hundreds of employees.
That means that they must have major credit cards accepted at the very least. Any website claiming to serve students with experienced teachers professionally does not just take PayPal, and that’s it! If they do only PayPal, this is how you can detect a scam.
8. They Should Be Reasonable in How and When They’re Paid
It’s normal for a company to ask for a deposit from a customer for tutoring as they need to guarantee that they don’t get taken for a ride, either. It’s also quite reasonable that they only demand full payment once you’re satisfied with the instruction that you’re given.
Here’s what’s not: If a tutoring service demands all of the money upfront, then be aware that you’re probably not going to get it back. It’s also likely that you’re never going to get those tutorials, either! So, always beware of anyone who wants full payment upfront!
Online Tutoring: How To Report a Scammer
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About the author:
Alina has spent more than the last ten years immersed in articles. She divides her time between Canada and the United States with her husband and two children.
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