Fraudulent Online Schools: Some Warning Signs

About this article
While many online schools offer legitimate degrees, some of them are in it for money and couldn't care less about student concerns. This article contains information on warning signs you should be aware of when considering acquiring a diploma from an online school.
View available schools

Warning Signs for Fraudulent Online Schools

Some online 'schools' make money by providing you with a bogus degree that may have cost you several hundreds or thousands of dollars, but is worthless. When choosing an online school, you need to be aware of the following warning signs of fraudulent online schools:

1) Fake accreditation

2) Limited contact information

3) Fancy website

4) .EDU website extension

5) FAQs

6) Extreme claims

Fake Accreditation

Be sure the school you are considering is accredited by an appropriate regional association. This may mean actually getting in contact with someone at the accreditation agency, for some online degree websites provide links to phony accreditation websites. Remember, it's your education. Anyone can claim accreditation, but it is up to you to do your homework.

Limited Contact Information

Limited contact information is another way of detecting fraudulent online schools. Be wary of any school that doesn't provide both a phone number and a physical address. Contact only by email is a covert and convenient way to dupe unsuspecting victims. Every legitimate school needs to provide students with a way to get help either in person or over the phone.

Fancy Website

Don't be duped by fancy websites. Anyone can produce a shoddy website for virtually nothing, but phony online schools have the income to produce well-designed websites. Many people rely on the 'look' and 'feel' of a website to determine its authenticity. Naturally, organizations with official looking websites are taken seriously. Don't get let the appeal of the website's look distract you from questioning the site's authenticity

Domain Name

Don't be fooled with a website's Top-level domain (TLD): the letter just after the dot in a web address. Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, states that the theory for these letters is to designate particular organizations. For example, .com is used by companies, .gov is used by United States government agencies, and .edu is used by educational institutions. This, however, is only in theory. Fraudulent schools are well aware of TLD designations and ensure that their websites end in .edu to give them a more professional look. In practice a school isn't necessarily affiliated with a legitimate educational organization because its address ends in a .edu. Any individual or organization, including a fraudulent school, can purchase an .edu site.

FAQs

FAQs in and of themselves aren't a warning sign of a fraudulent website. However, if the FAQs sound more like a sales pitch than unbiased information, maybe a this should raise a red flag. Don't believe absolutely everything you read, especially online. Fraudulent online school websites will certainly not rule out blatant lies.

Extreme Claims

It is natural to want the best value for your money, but if you encounter an online degree website boasting extreme deals, be careful. Any school claiming you can finish a degree extremely quickly or with minimal work involved is likely to be a fake. As the old saying goes, 'deals that sound too good to be true usually are.'

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Judson University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Online
      • Master of Business Administration Online
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology Online
      • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Entrepreneurship - Online
      • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Human Resource Management - Online
      • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration Online
      • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services Online
      • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership Online
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MSCJ: Law
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master: Psychology/General Psychology
      • MSPY - Industrial/Organizational Psychology Specialization
    Bachelor's
      • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
    Certificate
      • Psychology
      • Medical Assisting
      • Certificate in Human Services
      • Medical Office Administration
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
  • Online Programs Available
    3. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Health Care Quality
      • Masters in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
      • Graduate Certificate in Multimedia Development
      • Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
      • Graduate Certificate in Transition Special Education
      • Education Specialist in Educational Leadership and Administration
      • Graduate Certificate in E-Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA: Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management: Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • RN to BSN
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Accounting
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
      • Associate of Science - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
      • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting
      • Networking Systems Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
      • Master of Project Management
      • Master of Finance
      • Master of Professional Accounting
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
      • BS - Human Services
      • BS - Accounting
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Marketing
      • Undergraduate Specialization - Criminal Forensics
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
      • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Cognition and Instruction
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    Master's
      • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Applied Management
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
      • BS in Accounting
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in GeroPsychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Forensic Psychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Health Psychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Human Factors Psychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Life Coaching
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor - Management - Criminal Justice
      • Doctorate: Computer Science
      • Doctorate - Computer Science: Information Assurance (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management - Graduate Level Instructional Practices
      • Doctorate: C.S. - Enterprise Information Systems
      • Doctorate: Management - Organizational Development and Change
    Master's
      • Master of Science in Computer Science
      • Master: Computer Science - Database Systems
      • Master of Business Admin
      • Master of Business Admin - Entrepreneurship
      • MS - Computer Science - Computer Systems Security
      • M.S. - Information Technology
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Psychology
      • BS - Criminal Justice
      • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior
      • B.S. - Psychology - Consumer Behavior
      • BS - Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
      • BS - IT - Web Development
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
      • Ed.D. - Sports Management
    Master's
      • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • MEd - General Education
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership
      • Education Specialist - Special Education
      • Education Specialist - International Education
      • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - Instructional Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
      • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
      • Master of Science in Engineering Technology
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management

Featured Schools

Judson University

  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Online
  • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology Online
  • Associate of Arts

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MSCJ: Law
  • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Psychology

Which subject are you interested in?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Health Care Quality
  • Masters in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
  • Graduate Certificate in Multimedia Development

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management
  • Diploma: Medical Office Admin

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • BS - Communication
  • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • Graduate Certificate of Completion in GeroPsychology

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor - Management - Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • B.S. - Psychology
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?