5 Frauds in the Education Sector

It is easy to say that any wrongful or criminal deception, trick or engagement intended to result in personal or financial gain is fraudulent. Fraud exists on every level and with the advent of technology. It has been made somewhat easy; fraudulence is now accomplished on computer devices; cybercrime.

5 Frauds in the Education Sector

Since fraud is everywhere, fraud in the education sector should not be surprising; academic corruption has led to plenty of educational fraud among higher level students across educational institutes. The education system has suffered a loss from fraudulent activities that have summed up to about $70 million globally, including unavailable academic records. In the educational industry, numerous frauds have emerged over time. These include phishing scams, malware crimes, credit card scams, etc.

Research has shown that universities are major targets for fraudsters, and various data breaches have exposed personal academic registers and academic documents to the public. This breach has caused serious jeopardy. Blackmail for these scammers is a lucrative business.

Law enforcement agencies have developed techniques to combat this issue of education fraud across education institutions to ensure that educational quality is maintained in the education industry. Some of the efforts include informatization of society and education and creating awareness among tertiary education students, higher education learners, and even faculty members. The dangers of academic fraud are being placed in the light and are treated with utmost concern.

Let us look at five scams that are eroding higher education.

Student Loan Scam

Schools provide benefits in the form of financial aid and student loans. These benefits have been used in recent years. This fraud occurs when students temper or falsify their family's financial position, misrepresent documents to qualify for aid. The punishment for this crime might deny you your years ahead through imprisonment or large monetary fines.

The report has it that schools have suffered immensely from this practice as 65,000 fake students have been discovered across many schools. This has been considered one of the biggest scams in recent times; this issue surfaces on the news now and then and is achieved through duplicitous means such as fake emails and other online services.

This crime can be avoided through intense and meticulous documentation and background checks. The university should be willing to go the extra mile to vet and scrutinize any information regarding its school population, and this research should not be conducted only once. Still, it should be adopted for a long-time stretch. This fraudulent activity is not prevalent at the high school level but is found on the higher levels of education; the university and college level.

Fake Scholarships

This takes a similar form to the scam, as mentioned earlier. Identity and records are tempered with and adulterated to suit whatsoever reason, including scholarships. Some scholarships grant money to support or offer you a complete paid-for ride through school. This scam is a two-way scam, and duplicitous agencies also beguile applicants to pay for fake scholarships.

This scam is easy to manifest as it can be achieved through text messages, phone calls and other simple means, making this a bit rampant. Statistics from 2021 revealed that at least a 43million Americans are in debt of at least $36000 in federal loans; this makes learners vulnerable to scholarship scams.

Since scholarships are available at an international level, an effective international practice should be adopted to combat this issue as it is a cankerworm causing enormous damage in the educational market.

Malware Attacks

Microsoft Security Intelligence posits that the education sphere has suffered the most from cybercrimes in 2020, encountering about 64 percent of malware attacks. Why is this so? Remote learning, as breath-taking and important, as it is, has its cons. One provides learners with an opportunity to use their devices and unsecured network systems to join classes, thus equipping them with what they need to hack and steal data from the database. The Michigan state university was hit in 2020 by this type of malware, and the ransomware gang refused payments afterwards, threatening to leak private data in order to make a point.

Identity Thieves

An average university should have about 5000 students, and that's still quite a number of people, records and identities can easily be misconstrued and tempered with, and this is one of the easiest acts of fraudulence in the sphere of education.

How can identity theft be used for personal gain? Once the information in a database has been acquired, it is easy to use it for any illegal means like loans and the likes, and identity can easily be manipulated. Afterwards, a new person is produced, loans can be cleared from this act.

Apart from that, fraudsters can sell this information on the dark web. Related posts show that hackers sort after personal data such as SSN, parents' names to commit financial crimes. Thus, these records can be used to commit crimes.

School, saving, graduation, student

Internal scams

This category of scams is perpetrated by staff members and learners as well. Staff who sell products to learners or receive bribes to pass learners fall under this category. Selling overpriced products, conducting side hustles, and other acts in the same manner are all considered crimes. Let us take a deeper dive into this form of crime; creation of phoney positions, faculty members creating copies of books for personal gain, conducting false research, getting involved in monetary transactions between staff and learners without the administration's consent, and more are considered duplicitous.


The list of scams in the educational sphere is long, but those mentioned earlier are the most detrimental; reasonable efforts have been made to combat these scams, and awareness is being made across institutions on the dangers and consequences of such acts.

About the author

Melanie Patterson, a professional writing tutor from papersowl.com, wrote this post. She worked for a variety of media companies and tabloids and edited a few co-produced publications. She now provides excellent coaching in writing, editing, and time management.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

5 Frauds in the Education Sector