Many of you will have noticed that there has been an increase, in the past few years, in the number of emails being sent out regarding getting new degrees or qualifications. These emails focus on detailing all the advantages that these degrees and qualifications will bring you, such as increased salaries and more responsibility at work. However, in some cases you are being led astray.
This article focuses on the kinds of research that you should be doing before signing up to complete anything at all and making sure you don’t fall for the scams or over inflated benefits of crooked businesses:
1. Look at online job boards – Are there lots of jobs being advertised that specify they are looking for people with the advertised degrees/ qualifications? If not, then it may be best to ignore the email.
2. Research the local advertisements (newspapers/ shop windows) and company websites – Most local business will be specifying all the required skills that they need, so you should focus on getting these, not on what you are being told to get in an email.
3. Check if it is a registered institute – There are a number of ways that you can check to see if the company advertising their degree services is genuine. You can go through Companies House to see if they have registered their business. You can check their website for contact details, if they don’t have any – avoid them. If they do, give them a call and see how they answer a range of questions!
You can also check their terms and conditions to see if anything sounds suspicious and also check to see how they accept payment and if they show the secure payment sign on their website. A site with HTTPS in their URL is usually a sign that they are a secure and safe site to buy through.
4. Check if they have a LinkedIn group or forum – You will then be able to speak with others who have experienced their services and can check how good and reliable the service is before buying anything.
5. Check how long a learning time/ tutorial time they offer – If there is minimal contact between you and a tutor, or if they boast that you can gain a degree in 6 weeks, then, unfortunately it’s probably not worth buying. Think about how long it normally takes to complete a degree, use your head and avoid scams like this where you pay a lot but don’t receive a lot in return.
6. Be safe and report it if you are unsure – If you are worried that you have fallen foul of a scam, then do contact The Offices of Trading Standards or The Offices of Fair Trading to report your worries and they will investigate it for you.
7. Look at the way they charge tuition fees – If they are trying to get more money out of you through advertising the discounts you can get when you enrol in a lot of the degree courses they offer, then you should be wary. True educational institutions should be encouraging you to focus and complete one course at a time.
8. Research their name – If the business has a name that is identical or based on another famous or accredited institution than you should be very suspicious.
Use your head, and believe in your gut feelings and be sure that you don’t fall for the scams or over inflated benefits that are out there.