Online Education Fraud: Fake Universities, Colleges, and Masters

Online College Course Scam: How It Works

Beware of the Online Course Scam going around these days, coming in the form on online learning platforms. Let’s dive in. Are you looking for an online masters in education? A college course? Best online colleges, in general? Or maybe for some distance learning courses?

Well, beware of the plethora of fraudulent ads on the Internet, especially during these hard times we are all going through. Let’s dive into the Online Course scam, aka the Distance Education Scheme, or the Online Class Scam.

They promise a certificate program that helps you fulfill your educational goals by putting you on the same level as all the other highly educated college students. Let’s look into this bogus online program that promises a college credit like no other.

Most of these distance education scams are coming out as fake online universities and colleges, not to mention the bogus scholarship applications or the tuition fee traps. Feel free to contribute with your experience and the names of questionable educational institutions in the Comments section at the end of this article.

Advertisements from several online fake universities are now all over the Internet. “Get your degree fast” and “Add Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate Degrees to your resume in just 4-6 weeks!” are just two of the headlines that might sound very good.

However, that is what scammers use to get you signed up. If you do, you will pay a lot of money to register for degree completion, and you’ll be promised a diploma, transcripts, or an award of excellence.

In reality, there is no program or associate degree, as the ‘institution’ or college doesn’t really exist. Sometimes they are promoted as free online courses that could be accessible through a non-existent financial aid.

Watch the video below to see how to recognize quickly if your online college is legitimate or not:


Online College Course Scam: How To Avoid

To register into an online degree program could be dangerous without doing your homework (no pun intended). Do not get us wrong; a lot of the online college courses you may find on the Internet are real. We are just referring to the bogus “online schools”.

In order to differentiate the real from the fake, connect with real people who were there – some learners, a former student, or an instructor – basically, people who attended these free online college courses.

Do not trust these ads, whether they are about enrolling in science, math, or any other degree program that would make even the students at the University of Pennsylvania jealous.

Chances are, these fake universities are obviously not accredited, and you’ll wait forever to start courses or to get a decent education from taking their courses. If you want to become an online student, make sure you research the name of the “university” first and try to contact their Customer Service to ask all pertinent questions.

If they don’t give you a clear picture of how your next few months will look (program curriculums, classes, assignments, type of bachelor’s degree, a physical location where the institution has it’s official address, etc.) don’t waste your money. Try looking on the Better Business Bureau’s website for the online university that you consider joining.

Also, if the tuition rate for these online college courses is very low, that should be a red flag.

fake universities


Online College Course Scam and Fake Universities: How To Report Them

Warn your family and friends know about the fake universities and colleges by sharing this article using the buttons provided. You can also officially report questionable online college courses to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here

How To Protect Yourself More

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam.Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other massive open online course scammers.

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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

42 thoughts on “Online Education Fraud: Fake Universities, Colleges, and Masters”

  1. I have applied at Ginsberg Univeristy. They say that they are located in Michigan. They exempted me some courses since I did two years of my university. And told me that I will study online only five months and get bachelor degree since I covered most of their courses before. Here is their website . Is this university real or a scam? I have some of my friend who are studying there and they have not yet completed their studies. Kindly help me confirm if it’s genuine or scam. Thanks

  2. I have been getting calls and emails from they are claiming I can obtain the Master degree online studying in less than one year with the total cost of $12,000. could you please advise if anyone has an experience with this institution or it is a SCAM.

    Thanking you for your cooperation. Looking forward to do computer science.

  3. can anyone share any information about if it is real or fake. thank you, wanna continue my learning even with a. college if not university.

  4. can anyone let me know about Trevorfield university? is it real or fake? online study certificate or original or not valid?

  5. The University of Mainefield scam just changed their website domain from to be, so their current domain is, and email is, but they’re still keeping the same phone number +1-855-747-7718.

    They called me claiming that they offer an accredited MBA degree with a great scholarship to reduce the 11,000 USD cost to be 1,600 USD. Wondering about this science program.

    I didn’t pay anything because I searched first about the university and didn’t find any clue that there’s a university with this name not even an online college and any other learning institution and their website rank is around 7 Million, which means it almost has no visitors and it’s very new.

    And their number is almost marked is a scam, please check below:

    For such scams please do some search first about the university to check is it real of fraud. And also check the university rank online, below are some websites and an official transcript that may help.

  6. I am Rg, and I had been offered some online college particularly University of Mainefield Orono M.E. USA. That was July 24, 2019 and i have submitted my school documents that time as requirements for screening.

    They offered me scholarship as to what course im going to take, the amount is pretty hard to believe. They have me enrolled for a masters degree in health science for an amount of 300 dollars then the remaining tuition fee as follows:
    Option 1 installment 6000 USD÷12 mos
    Option 2 3950usd÷2 payments 1975
    Option 3 presidential scholarship discount 2499-300 usd enrollment fee to be payed right away.

    Their phone number was 1-855-747-7718. they said that they are accredited by MEAORE Middle East Accreditation Organization for Regional Education, actually i didnt buy the promo but i have submitted my school documents to them. Few days back someone called me from MEAORE (1-888-794-3371) that I am going to be deported back to my country and they will call my employer here in riyadh, saudi arabia for l was not complying and not enrolling to the university of mainefield that the Ministry of Education has spend money for the processing of my documents, I was hesitated and shocked that time of them making some measures to do to me as if they processed and payed for my papers transactions that I was not a saudi national and just an expatriate getting lucky of getting the scholarship discount/ lucky to get the slot. So I enrolled in a course and started my lessons on the online classroom, the things there were just articles and videos from youtube and not actually professors teaching and students learning in real time, as what they said everything will be pre recorded lectures because they will be the one to flex with my schedule because i am an expatriate working here in the kingdom. They are asking me last week for the tuition fee payment for my college credit and to give them an answer right away, because they didnt want any local authority to contact me again and say the same thing, for me its really a threat or blackmailing. they also mentioned that they are affiliated with University of Maine as their physical campus in Orono Maine USA, but upon me calling the University of Maine, they told me that they are not affiliated with University of Mainefield. I was thinking that this was a diploma mills or scam university for learners. Hoping for your fast response and help, I am a filipino working here in middle east alone in order to provide everything for my family (working adults), and now I think I’ve been lured by a big online college scam company. Fake college credit and course offerings. And I dont want this thing to happen to other people willing to learning.

    I have not payed anything after I payed the enrollment fee of 300 USD.

    I also reported this incident to Federal Trade Commission FTC in the United States of America. Still awaiting for their response.

    University of Mainefield website and contact number:

    MEAORE website and contact number:

    Please Help me…

  7. University of Costa Field is totally Fraud. Please stay away from it. They are scam masters and even have capacity to re route official numbers of the Embassies.

    1. Dear ,
      What was your status to this issue as I too been stuck with these guys for a huge amount.Did you get the passing documents.

  8. Independence University is a fake school, they will steal your social security, and even steal your signature! I do not want anyone else to be a victim of potential identity theft.

  9. I got scammed by Elber Field University California for an MSc course, When I paid the last installment they blocked me. I lost $1525.
    The best thing is to avoid any online course except the school is beside you or in your country. Most of these online degrees are scam.

  10. I received offer for MBA programme with 100% scholarship with Dalefort University . I want to clarify are this university exist or fake

  11. Hi, I am receiving multiple phone call from Gilbert Univeristy for an online bachelor degree. It looks that the University exists, but I am not sure it may be a fake school. Can you help to find out? Anyone went through this learning situation?
    Here some details:
    Ginsberg University,Ann Arbor,Michigan-USA
    call 1-866-312-9222

  12. I received messages from USAC that is forwarded from El Sayed Shajrawi telling that action will be taken from those students who got their online diploma either they are using it or not. I acquired that diploma from Greatwood university years ago and I did not use it. They said that we are required to pay almost a thousand dollars for the filing of cancellation NOC. Can you check for me if these people are really from US Accreditation Council and if this information is legit.

  13. Received numerous phone calls from this number ?+1 (855) 885-0483?, claiming they are from Dalefort university. As i am busy at work i did not have time or sometimes signal to receive the calls. The person started getting very impatient and arrogant and when I told him I am not interested in enrolling for a degree with them anymore, he started getting abusive insulting and swearing at me. Told me that I am a time waister etc etc. I did some research not much detail can be found the so called university. Please list them as a scam, dalefort university.

  14. Skyline Prep School is the new scam name. I’m not talking about the well established ones. I’m a freelance write who was hired part ways when I realized things were fishy.

    It’d be nice to be able to post their logo here.

    But it seems that they are about to purchase the site:

    I don’t have proof, but I suggest ppl to be extremely cautious when it comes to online deals.

  15. The World University I think this university is fake, and is trying to deceive many students who are looking for US universities online. I did not find any data in any ranking site. Fake school. And there is no information about it at the U.S. Department of Education. avoid any course you want to take.

  16. I was also scammed by this people from Gibson University and almost on the second time around. The Arabic guy claiming from Ministry of Labor was threatening me and saying that I wll be put to jail and will be banned in UAE for life and also will have to pay AED150 fine if i didn’t settle with the school. He patched me on the phone with the man claiming from Gibson University, this time,we were three on the line. They both were threatening me and was not even giving me time to think about or to consult anyone. They were insisting my credit card details right there and then. This is really a sydicate. Pls. dont fall into this trap

  17. Gibson University is FAKE!!

    Just received a call from a very aggressive Arab man saying I need to certify my degree! I didn’t even finish it, I stopped in 2015 because I suspected it was a scam. Please don’t be fooled by these idiots! They want me to pay another 1,000 US haha! You fooled me once but you cant fool me twice you idiots!

  18. These guys are frauds of the first order and quite dumb too. They are now calling people talking in Arabic posing to be officials and threatening to inform the government that the certificate is issued. Dont fall into the trap. Again I receive email telling me that Mr. El Sayed Al Shajrawi, of Gulf Bureau of Higher Education has advised them to legalize my previous documents as they are in the process of informing the labour ministry, ministry of education and Education ministries (if only they understand what it means….LOL!!!). This is a continuous trap of extracting more money from fake school, college and learning course. Just ask them to provide their identification and all the authorization the government has given them (if they are claiming they are authorised by the UAE Government). Don’t panic and don’t give into their threats or any money. THEY ARE BIG TIME FRAUDS. Where can we file a complaint against these dumb idiots in the UAE for harassing us learners for nothing.

  19. Gibson University scammed me!!!

    I have now stumbled upon your site after many times of trying to get I do about Gibson’s.

    I have also been scammed of my feed of $2500.USD.

    How can I be assisted to get back my money from these frauds.

  20. Dear Student, or Gibson University ex students

    i belive we have all fallen for the same trap. however i have all their conversation recorded and the principle that i have been scammed by these people is just too hurtful.
    hence i have already appointed a lawyer in the USA to take them to court,
    i have all their bank account records and all the transfer has been tracked after being paid. (basically after paying them they have moved the money to other accounts and these got tracked)
    so i suggest you talk to your banks and to the credit cards companies that you have deals and paid with to help you in that matter.
    i know money and time can’t be given back but at least we can show these scammers that we are not going to stay still.

  21. I also enrolled at Gibson University. For me, Im shocked because all the time I was studying they were helpful and always kept in touch. Then I finished BA in Teachung and Learning Education. After I finished, they contacted me told me my certificate and transcript would be sent to me. And it was. With a seal and all. Then they told me it would take up to 60 days to receive the acc stamp so I would be able to work here in KSA. Now I find out about all of this. Not only have I been scammed but have wasted my time. I need my job but now I may lose it because all my efforts mean nothing. Its the law here, u must have your certicates stamped. Is there anyone that can help me with this?
    Ps. It is also quite embarrassing infront of my boss too.

  22. it is a FAKE UNIVERSITY, i have studied master degree in nursing , i have paid for the course learning fees, then i have paid for legalization of the certificate , some body called me from this website, middle east accreditation council, he is talking in arabic telling me im from saudi arabia, to get your legalized certificate you have to pay additional money to legalize certificate because i have studied full online 100 % online, i have paid , at the end they give me certificate thst is legalized from cairo university and not from USA, at this time , i realized that is not a real university and no campusfor them, it is a fake university, i want to get back my money, i have open the website of ministry of higher education in UAE, i have discovered that gibson university is a fake, and if i submit the certificate that i has got from then , i will be in the jail. i want to keep learning but i am scared.

  23. I have enrolled into Gibson University in October 2014
    for master degree in Environmental managment

    my contact was
    Glenn McGuire,
    Student Affairs,

    Phone # 1-877-938-6897
    Fax # 1-877-938-6897

    every thing was fine until last April 2015
    when I got busy during March with a training course of Crisis management for one month and I couldn’t submit my assay for the ninth course, then they gave me a chance to finalize it, then suddenly there was no response since med April, cant reach them, no one is answering me.
    until I found out in the internet that some people are actually saying that it is a fraud.
    Do you think we can get back our money???!!??

  24. Hi there, the same think happened to me. Was too scammed my Gibson University. These numbers called me +1 (777) 2790608 +(877) 9386897 numerously. I have paid $5000.

  25. Hi Cara,
    I was approached by the same idiot (Alan Harper) and I did enroll in Gibson University for Ph.D. HR Management. I thought i’d continue school and take a course that would help me learning more of what i want to do.
    They ended up scamming me for U$ 2500 and he kept asking me for more money, then I’ve suspected that it is a fake and he did hang up the phone on me when I refused to send another dime.
    Moreover, I kept asking them to provide me with the exact location of their campus/offices claiming that I’ll be visiting the US soon, but got no reply.

    We have to be more careful with these guys in future, we sweat and bleed to collect some cash and we end up with this trash.

    I believe they operate somewhere from India.

    Regards and good luck to all. Try maybe a different course at a college or any other school.

  26. I have enrolled in Gibson University Online. I have started the degree and finished it in less than a year. Halfway through the degree they phone me and told me I have been exempted from five courses because my working years experienced I was lost because I know I didn’t have the experience in the major courses that they were talking about. I received another call from them saying my papers have to be naturalized and legalized by the board of educators. I caught on that it was a scam after all of this transpired I refuse to give them another dime. They lied told me that the government give me a scholarship. The guy name Allan Happer always calling me harassing me for my money to legalized the document and I refuse to give in! So last time he phoned me I told him just send my documents and he got mad and hang up the phone on me! That was sooooooo unprofessional. I work hard for my money and he wont get another grain from me!!!!It is wrong what the school is doing and they need to pay people their monies back!

  27. I think I might be a victim of an online university scam, could you help me please? The university that I’ve attended is Orlando University. If this is true and the uni is fake, could you please advise what can I do against it as I paid thousands of US dollars. Please advise.

  28. I think I’m also being scammed by Gibson online university. Overtime they call me, asking for payment of accreditation etc. and offering me to fast track the degree, I haven’t even started and yet, they already want to process the diploma.

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