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Experts say college prep scams are on the rise again. Here's what to look out for

The Better Business Bureau is warning families to be on the lookout for fake college prep materials being sold. Caution your kids not to overshare their plans.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s officially spring and soon your child may be taking college admission tests like the SAT, ACT, GRE and others.

Some of those tests were on hold during COVID-19 and some of the testing dates have been canceled for this spring.

The warning at the moment is for parents to be on the lookout for bogus college admission prep materials being pitched to you or your children. This is a problem that rears its head in some ugly form during testing season. Scammers take advantage of confusion and fear, both of which are in abundance right now.

Prepping for, and taking the test, is stressful enough. High school students everywhere prep and get competitive for the best scores.  Students, and their parents, will sometimes jump at any advantage offered in terms of prep courses. But beware; some of that stuff pitched to you is bogus. 

Many kids overshare on social media: what their plans are, where they go to school, when they plan to take tests. It’s a treasure trove for someone pitching them and you on fake prep courses and materials.

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“We have all the test prep materials; it’s going to cost $250.00,” Tom Bartholomy of the Charlotte Better Business Bureau said.

SAT test with pencil and mortar board graduation cap

Here are some handy tips to make sure you're protected from scammers:

  • Be wary of calls out of the blue 
  • If you do buy something, use a credit card, there’s built-in protection
  • Remember that The College Board will never ask for money upfront 
  • Test preps are fine, just know what you are really buying
Credit: Christopher Record/Davidson College
Campus Scenes - Fall on Campus

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One more thing: be wary of courses and sales pitches that will guarantee a certain score. If something sounds a bit fishy to you, it probably is, so be careful.