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Fraudulent Courses: How to Avoid Them

With Coronavirus restrictions keeping everyone indoors for months at a time, it’s no surprise that online learning courses have grown in popularity. For those who want to spend such time productively, these courses provide crucial knowledge which can be implemented at work. Moreover, many of the most popular courses are accredited, allowing people to swiftly bolster their existing CV. However, folks should know how to distinguish genuine and fraudulent courses.

As a response to this rising demand, there have been numerous accounts of con artists setting up websites that offer fraudulent courses in order to scam those looking to learn. While these options may look appealing at first glance, they are not at all what they seem, costing home learners greatly in both time and money. 

To help you avoid falling victim to such scams, the team at the vocational courses comparison website CoursesOnline offer tips on what to avoid when looking for a course provider. Here’s what you need to know. 

Check the Registration First 

Anybody with enough technical know-how can set up a website and promote whatever content that they want. So, if you come across a site that seems too good to be true, it just might be. If a site makes grand promises in exchange for what seems like minimal investment on your part, there is a chance that something is amiss. 

Fortunately, there’s a quick way to check the legitimacy of these offers. Companies House should hold a record of the company promoting its services. From here you can view all the information about a business and confirm whether they are who they claim to be. 

One semi-common scam is for somebody to purchase a web domain whose ownership has expired and pretend to be the previous owner. That way, should they be caught out, someone else takes the blame for it. To get around this potential issue, check if the business site is still in the hands of the original owner. If it’s not, you should be wary. 

Compare the Cost with other Providers

As you would when making any purchase, it’s worth shopping around and comparing offers from multiple providers. While each provider will have their own methods for pricing, similar courses from different websites will tend to fall within a similar price bracket. 

Should the course you’re considering be wildly over or under-priced, that could be a cause for concern. For instance, if the course is much cheaper than its competitors, the chances are that it’s not what the provider says it is. Take the time to double-check the accreditations of the course and verify that it is legitimate by looking at online reviews. 

On the other hand, if the course costs much more than similar offerings, that could also be a red flag. Do some research to determine whether this course offers significantly more to learners than its more affordable counterparts. If the answer is no, walk away. 

Don’t Fall for Over-the-Top Promises 

Common tricks employed by fraudsters include promising customers a job at the end of the course or even ways to make their money back ten-fold. If the course provider is offering a seemingly unmissable opportunity to boost your income, dig a little deeper. 

The truth of the matter is that few providers can make these types of promises. While there are accredited, widely-known qualifications that will likely help accelerate your career, nothing is certain. You should steer clear of any provider stating otherwise. 

Always Read Customer Reviews 

One of the simplest ways to avoid fraudulent courses is to look for social proof. You can check online reviews and testimonials to determine whether a particular course is legit or not. While the provider may have reviews on their own website, it’s oftentimes hard to know whether these are real. 

For that reason, it pays to take a look at well-known, established review sites, such as TrustPilot. Taking the time to delve into legitimate customer reviews will help you gain an understanding of the company or provider. Of course, if there are no reviews or poor customer reviews, you might want to take your business elsewhere. 

Stay Safe and Avoid Fraudulent Courses

While it’s troubling to see the rise of scam courses online, there are plenty of ways in which you can protect yourself and your finances. Ensuring that you follow these expert-backed tips could save you hassle and money further down the line.

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Author: Sarah-Jane Mcqueen

Sarah is a General Manager at Candlefox and is focused on growing the U.K. market. For more than 8 years, Candlefox has been assisting Australia’s best education providers to increase student enrollments. As Australia’s largest education marketplace, data plays a key role in every step of the student journey.