The online education market is booming. Months of lockdowns have opened up amazing prospects for a whole bunch of educational platforms and experts in all fields of knowledge.
But not only for them. Fake educational platforms are also on the rise. And desperate students, exhausted by Zoom sessions and struggling to keep abreast of the curriculum, turn to self-education. They are ready to grab any chance offered by targeted ads and quick search.
Luckily, they already know some safe places where one can get qualified assistance, and no trouble will follow. One such place is EssayPro platform providing essay writing services and a few more similar credible entities like EssayHub, Essayservice, and others. Many students can also tell a scam writing service from a reliable one from the first glance at their homepage.
But there’s less research about educational platforms yet. We’ve taken on a mission to fix this problem and gathered some tips on how to avoid being scammed by fake courses, degree programs, etc. in this article.
Try to choose well-known platforms
The most obvious way to avoid being scammed is to choose the best-known educational platforms. Together, the leaders of the market provide a huge range of courses that cover most of the professions and skills in demand.
Among the most reliable platforms are:
- Khan Academy;
- edX, and a few others.
Examine the website carefully
The easiest way to get scammed is by clicking on a link in a fraudulent ad or e-mail. When you do so, most likely, you will be redirected automatically to somewhere on the Internet. It can be anything – a landing page, an application form, a chat in a messenger, and whatnot.
These destinations are hard to verify, so the safest way is to type the site address in your browser manually. If there is no address, use the search engines to seek it first.
When reaching some website, examine it thoroughly. It should contain all the necessary information like registration, full company/individual entrepreneur’s full name, contacts, etc.
Look for verified courses and programs
If you don’t want to choose from the most popular platforms, at least try to opt for those that are verified or accredited by third parties. But remember that this verification should also be double-checked! If this is hard to do – it might be a red flag, too.
For example, there’s been a rise in the number of fake degree programs recently because many students decided to seek higher education online and obtain a diploma of a high-profile college.
But beware: a lot of these “colleges” are not high-profile at all. Avoid unrealistic offers and double-check the names of the educational institutions.
A reliable platform should have testimonials, so take the time to read them. Don’t put too much confidence in reviews posted on the official site, though, as this information can be fake. Even if it isn’t, such testimonials are always pre-moderated.
But there are other places where you can look for genuine reviews, like:
- Social media. But yet again, don’t rely on the comments posted in the official accounts. Check all relevant hashtags and try to contact some of the reviews’ authors.
- Search engines. Google may offer you fake testimonials as well, but there will definitely be some genuine ones among the search results, too.
- Q&A websites. At Quora and the likes of this platform, you can ask your question directly and receive the most relevant answers. This is not a 100% safe method, too: many scammers monitor such sites and provide fake “expert” answers regularly.
Use all of these tactics combined to increase your chances of obtaining authentic testimonials.
Available free content is a good sign
Many bona fide educational platforms provide free try-out courses or, at least, extended previews. This is natural: reliable companies and edupreneurs have nothing to hide. Actually, they will only win by giving you a taste of their products.
If there is no specific information about courses and programs, and all you see on an official website or a landing page are promo texts – this is a bad sign. Most likely, such a platform is a scam. But even if it isn’t – do you really want to pay for a pig in a poke?
Rely on your intuition
After you’ve done your research, take some time to deliberate, and make a decision based on your gut feeling. This may seem like weird advice, but seriously – trust your intuition! Sometimes when you just feel that something is wrong, it really is.
There are various educational platforms, online courses, and even distance degree programs on offer today, and their number is growing rapidly. So, there’s really no reason to trust your money to what you think may be unreliable.
It’s much wiser to spend some extra time and find something really safe, using the tips provided in the article above. Good luck!
Beverly Davis is a content specialist currently working at EssayPro, an established academic writing service. She frequently writes about education and student life. She uses her subject-matter expertise to craft articles with in-depth, and user-focused content.