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Scam City - Wading Through the Online Degree Maze

Many people become victims to online scams every year. Even in the field of education, you have to be careful because some courses are not what they seem. Online degree scams are common, but there are ways to protect yourself and your money.

It is understandable that students sometimes fall for online scams. The people behind this illegal practice know how to make their websites look convincing. Here are some tips to help you to know the difference between genuine online degrees and the fake ones.

Looking at Some Online Scams

Education scams have existed for many years, but the Internet made it easier to carry out this type of crime. Here are a few examples of some types of online education scams in recent times:

  1. After a child died following poor advice, the doctor, Laurence Perry was investigated. It was found that he purchased his diplomas from fake online schools.
  2. Dixie and Steven Randock were convicted of selling thousands of bogus online degrees. They also created fake degrees in the names of legitimate universities.
  3. As part of an undercover operation in 2005, the US Secret Service bought degrees from James Monroe University. The agency had concerns that terrorists could use fake diplomas to get jobs in the US.

Many other cases of diploma mills have been reported over the years.  These fake schools take advantage of people who want degrees to help them to get better jobs or move up in their jobs. Unfortunately, some people are aware that the degrees are virtually useless, but a large number of people are unaware. They only find out that the degrees are useless when they try to get a job or get into another degree program elsewhere.

How to Spot Scams

Diploma mills give real online schools a bad name, as they make some people overly cautious about online degrees. However, if you take the time to check, you will be able to spot the signs that an online school is a scam. Also, doing your own research is important when considering attending an online school. Some ways to confirm the validity of an online program include:

  • Finding out where the school is based: Many fake online schools are from places like Liberia or The Middle East. If you cannot find the location for a school’s office, then you should avoid it. Any real online school has an office that students can contact and ask questions.
  • Check with local authorities: In many states across the USA, and in many countries, agencies keep a list of accredited online schools. Do not apply to any school that is not on this list.
  • Research the school: You can find many complaints online about fake schools. Check for criminal cases brought against the school or complaints from former students. Real institutions that offer training online will often have some affiliation to a more traditional institution.
  • Look for reviews: Good schools usually get good reviews for the curriculum and quality of teaching. Do not apply to schools that attract many complaints and poor reviews.
  • Avoid the quick and easy: Schools that promise that you can earn your degree very quickly are not to be trusted. Compare their statements to those made by other online schools. Some fake schools make big promises because they know that some people are in a hurry to advance their careers.

The most important thing to remember as someone who wants a college degree is that it is best not to rush things. Take the time to look around and make comparisons of different schools and the programs that they offer. Talk to people who have earned real degrees from online schools.  Remember that your college degree is an investment and you don’t want to throw it away by applying to a fake school.

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