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.
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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.'

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Featured Schools

Davenport University

  • Master of Science in Computer Science, MS
  • Business, BBA
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What is your highest level of education completed?

Trident University

  • Business Administration (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Computer Sciences (BSCS)
  • Professional Studies (ASPS)
  • CMCB - Certificate in Medical Coding and Billing

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA with an Emphasis in Marketing
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • M.S. - New Media Journalism
  • BS - Sportscasting
  • BS - Cloud Technologies

What is your highest level of education?

Walden University

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - General
  • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
  • MS in Education - Self-Designed

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Communication Studies, B.A.
  • Criminal Justice, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?