Eye on Scams: Scammers hitting students with tutoring cons

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — College and high school students who hire online tutors to complete their class assignments are finding themselves victims of extortion cons.

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “Scammers have been known to advertise tutoring services online making it seem very legitimate. They need a little bit of money up front to get started with you, and the reports that we’ve had is that people are paying the money up front, they’re not really getting much detail to begin with and what to expect, and then that person that’s supposed to be the tutor disappears with their money.”

The scam works by taking advantage of students struggling in classes. Students search online for tutors who will help them with their work.

“They make it look legitimate,” added Babin. “They put fake references up there that make it sound like they’ve worked for a bunch of people. Sometimes, they’ll go as extensively as creating a website even showing that they’re a tutor or they might just simply post on Facebook hoping to lure in a couple victims through social media.”

Victims report paying a couple hundred dollars for help with assignments.

“In some instances we’ve had, when they pay the fee up front, the scammer– that’s not quite good enough for them. They want a little bit more money, so they threaten to maybe report them to the school that they’re going to, maybe saying some things that aren’t even true about the way that they’re completing their academics. They try to use scare tactics to get people emotionally involved that way they can make as much money on us as possible,” explained Babin.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to avoid homework scams:

  • Ask for referrals from friends, family, and teachers if they have any recommendations for tutors.
  • Most colleges and universities, including UL Lafayette and SLCC, offer free tutors in most core subjects.
  • Check references if you find a tutor online.
  • Decide rates up front. Tutors may charge extra for additional sessions, and it should be discussed and negotiated upfront.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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