Eye on Scams: SAT prep scams on the rise

National

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Con-artists are taking advantage of SAT prep materials tricking parents into paying for them.

For parents of high school students, SAT scores are a huge deal. With college admissions and scholarships on the line, paying for tutors and test prep materials may be worth the price and scammers are now taking advantage of this.

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “We know around the end of the school year time, seniors are looking at college opportunities, and through the summertime, we see a rise in scams having to do with college test prep materials, and we know we’ve had reports of scams on our scam tracker of people getting unsolicited phone calls, text messages, or even emails saying they have test prep materials for their soon to be college student and they are fraudulent and people are losing money.”

Losing money you won’t get back. An unsolicited caller claims to be from the College Board, the company responsible for SAT tests, or another educational organization. The scammer wants to confirm your address so they can send test prep materials.

“They ask for a deposit that they say is going to be refunded when you send the materials back, and a lot of times they try to sound very convincing and say that your child’s high school had us contact you, we’re doing a program through the school system to help you and your child make better test grades so we have the materials, all we need is the deposit that’s returned, and in the end, the materials never surface,” explained Babin.

That deposit can sometimes be several hundred dollars for the materials.

“They try to sound like they’re with an organization and pretend as though they’re with somebody you know and trust,” added Babin.

The Better Business Bureau has these tips to help you avoid test prep scams:

  • Be wary of unsolicited callers. If someone calls you out of the blue, always research their organization before you agree to receive services or products. 
  • Double check with your child. If scammers say they are calling because of a service your child requested, tell them you need to check with your child, and hang up.
  • Understand the College Board’s practices. The College Board will never ask you for bank or credit card information over the phone or by email.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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