There are more and more people who are enrolling for online courses, eager to improve their skills and gain the credentials to jumpstart their career. While most online schools are very credible and practice excellent teaching methods, unfortunately, there are also a couple of scam artists who are trying to take advantage of others. They fool the unsuspecting students into thinking that they are part of a legitimate school, and then give fake degrees or simply just shut down after the enrollment fees have been paid. Others are diploma mills that are run by people who don’t know anything about the fields or practice such incompetent teaching methods that students won’t learn anything at all.
So how do you protect yourself from online degree scams? Research. It’s crucial that you learn as much about a school as you can before you register for its courses. Read the fine print of an online school. Check the background. Are there any foreign or offshore companies involved, are there unlisted faculty, are the classes described as “coaching instructions” and therefore not recognized as valid equivalency units?
Don’t be fooled by the supposed “money back guarantee”. This doesn’t mean anything if there are several legal disclaimers that indicate that you will only actually see your cash after proving several extreme circumstances.
And while you may get your money back, what about your time and energy? You will never recover those, not to mention all the missed opportunities. So it’s best to take your time choosing an online school, and perhaps pay a little more for the assurance that a school is well established and has been properly accredited by the educational organizations than to sign up for a cheap fly-by-night operation.
So how do you know if a school is bad? Look at the materials. Are they poorly written? Are they out of date? Also check the grading standards. Are they too lax, such that you feel that there are no real standards to follow, or are they too harsh or unfair? Always ask for criteria and who you can complain to if you feel the grades were not fair.