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RALEIGH, NC (February 1, 2022) – Each year, about 3 million Americans head to college as freshmen. That means that for high school students and parents, SAT and ACT scores are very important. With college admissions and scholarships at risk, paying for tutors and test preparation materials can be worth it. But beware of scammers eager to take advantage of this. Scammers, with access to children’s names and school information, are tricking parents into paying for bogus SAT or ACT prep materials.
How the scam works
You receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from the College Board , the company responsible for the SAT tests, or another educational organization. The caller says they are confirming your address, so they can send test preparation materials, such as books, CDs, or videos, that your child requested from the school.
It looks so believable! Several victims reported to BBB Scam Tracker that the caller even had their child’s name, phone number, and/or school information.
Of course, it is a trap. The caller needs you to pay a deposit, sometimes several hundred dollars, for the materials. They state that it will be refunded when the materials are returned. Unfortunately, if you provide your address and credit card details, the materials will never arrive and your deposit will never be refunded. Scammers now have your credit card number and other personal information.
How to Avoid Test Prep Scams
Always be careful with unsolicited calls. If someone calls out of the blue, research the organization before sharing personal information or agreeing to receive services or products. Look up the company they claim to represent on BBB.org . Search for the name along with the words “scam” or “complaint” to find out if other consumers have had negative experiences. Check the BBB Scam Tracker to see if anyone else has filed a report on the business.
Double check with your child. If the scammers say they are calling about a service your child requested, tell them you need to check with your child and hang up. Make sure your claims are legitimate before calling back. The same is true for emergency scams.
Understand the practices of the College Board. The College Board will never ask you for bank or credit card information over the phone or by email. If a caller suggests otherwise, hang up. Learn more about College Board policies.
Use your credit card whenever possible. Credit cards can refund your money if they spot a fraudulent charge or report it in a timely manner. You may not be offered the same protection if you pay with your debit card or other payment options. Never agree to pay a stranger with a money transfer, prepaid cards, or digital wallet, such as the Cash App or Venmo.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org .