How to Recognize a Fake College Degree Scam

How to Recognize a Fake College Degree Scam


Getting a college degree takes a great deal of time, money, and effort. So imagine that someone tells you that you can get a degree in just a year or even a few months, or that it won’t cost nearly as much as you think. Or imagine that someone promises you that you can obtain a degree just by continuing in your current job.

Sounds tempting, right? Not so fast. Fake college degree scams, sometimes known as “diploma mill scams,” are everywhere, and they can take up a lot of your money and time if you’re not careful.

It’s important that any institution of higher education you attend is reputable, legitimate, and accredited. Read on to learn more about how to evaluate a potential college or university and make sure that you get a quality education in return for your hard-earned tuition money.

Is This College Degree a Scam?

Are you wondering, “Is this college degree fake?” There are a few key ways to tell whether or not a college is legitimate.

Firstly, you should take a look at the college’s claims. Ever heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?” Earning a college degree takes time and hard work. If the school’s admissions officers are promising you the world on a string, it’s probably not true.

If you’re expected to graduate in a year or a matter of months, or if the school claims that you can get into a graduate degree program without any relevant background or training, proceed with caution.

It’s also important to note what the curriculum will include. Online colleges can be just as legitimate as brick-and-mortar ones, but not if they don’t involve in-depth, intensive instruction.

Pushy, aggressive sales tactics are also a red flag. Accredited, respectable schools don’t need to sell you on their school in an aggressive manner. If you’re getting constant calls from a school or they’re asking you to provide personal information, hang up the phone. It’s a college degree scam.

You might be falling prey to a fake college degree scam if the school asks you to pay all fees and tuition upfront. Most legitimate schools ask you to pay by the credit hour or per class, not all at once.

How to Spot and Avoid Diploma Mill Scams

Most importantly, check to see if a given college or university is nonprofit or for-profit. For-profit schools are often scams and have lower admissions standards than nonprofit schools on average. They may be appropriately accredited, but they are often less respected and may accept just about anyone who is willing to fork over the cash.

Additionally, to avoid a diploma mill scam, check to make sure the school you’re investigating is properly accredited, both regionally and nationally. Look into their professors and instructors as well to make sure that they have been properly educated in a relevant field.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you think a college degree scam is underway.