1. Fake accreditation site. Any school can make the claim that they are fully accredited. However, unless theyre accredited by the proper regional association, this classification will mean little to the validity of your diploma. Some fake schools claim to be accredited under equally fake accrediting boards. Some schools even make up their own accrediting agencies, complete with links to impressive looking websites. Dont take a schools word for it; check with the regional association before you believe that an online school is actually accredited.
2. Limited contact information. If a school doesnt provide a phone number and a physical address, warning bells should be going off in your mind. Email is convenient. However, every legitimate school should be able to provide students with a way to get help in person or over the phone.
3. Fancy website. For some reason, its easier to take organizations seriously when their website looks official. But, dont equate legitimacy with looks. Fake schools have the funds to create impressive looking sites because theyve been scamming students out of hundreds of dollars.
4. .edu. Dont be fooled with a websites TLD. A school isnt necessarily affiliated with a legitimate educational organization just because its address ends in .edu,. Although .edu websites are reserved for educational institutions, the domain purchasing process wasn't always as strict as it is today. In fact, unaccredited schools or those seeking accreditation may still be able to purchase a .edu website.
5. FAQs. Fake schools know that youre going to have questions, and they try to address these common concerns in ways that appease the reader. But, dont believe everything you read, especially on the internet. Some counterfeit schools will even lie to you. Just because they say you have nothing to worry about doesnt mean its true.
6. Extreme claims. Everyone wants a good deal. But, be wary of extreme deals in education. Any school that claims you can finish a degree extremely fast or with minimal work is likely to be a fake. Deals that sound too good to be true usually are.