STUDY ABROAD FRAUD WARNINGS AND SIGNS
“As the globalization and internationalization of higher education has grown, we have seen a growing problem of fraud in applications to study,” said Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency, UK, who chaired the session on fraud and verification. “This type of fraud ruins the reputation of institutions, blocks access for applicants who do meet the requirements, and wastes money spent on students who are not capable of pursuing their academic career,” said Claus Lange, Head of Division (Africa, the Americas, Western Europe and the Middle East) in Germany. With more and more African students opting to study abroad for higher education, every day the number of scams related to it are also coming forward. As the students are not aware of the complex process of studying abroad, the fraud agents with glamorous offices just to create impression they are genuine however, they are sheep in wolf’s skin. Not only people living in smaller towns but even young people living in metro cities are a vulnerable target of these fake agents.
COMMON TYPES OF FRAUD INCLUDE:
- Agents send students to non-recognized universities. Make sure to check that the university/college you are applying to is a recognized institution by the concerned authority of that country.
- Many a times the agents submit fake academic or bank documents to embassy/college leading to blacklisting of that candidate later on.
- Always check the validity or accreditation of the course you are applying to. Check whether you will be getting a valid degree and whether you will be able to get a permanent job after completing your studies or not.
- Guaranteed Visa: Never fall prey to fraud agents by giving them money in exchange for guaranteed admission or visa. Agents make false claims to students that they can assure visas to them with their links in the embassy. Here, aspirants should know that the Embassy of the concerned country is the only authority that can issue a visa (Student Visa) to students and no agent can do that.
- Always check all necessary details related to fee, accommodation or on-campus work and other facilities on the official website of the college/university and do not go simply by what the fake agents are claiming. Fake agents can misguide students about all these details.
- Beware of fake agents who promise guaranteed admission, as officially they are not authorized to provide admissions to students. It is always the admissions committee that is selected by the college/university that has the authority to give admission or reject the application. Also, note that universities always inform the students about the status of their application whether accepted or rejected.
HERE ARE SOME WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN DEALING WITH A FAKE STUDENT AGENT:
1. He’s a poor listener: If your Fake agents talks more than he listens, or if he thinks a ‘job’ is the main goal, then he is incompetent at best. He cannot do a good job of helping you if he does not understand what motivates you, and what your career and life goals are. At worst, he is not listening because he is interested in pushing his own agenda. And invariably, whatever is ‘best’ for you will coincidentally also be the most profitable for him, though he will never say so
2. He keeps you in the dark: He does one of two things to prevent you from gaining a clear understanding of the application process. He either discusses minute and inane details at great length in an attempt to undermine your confidence and increase your dependence on him, or she; tells you to just leave everything to him. Either way, he subtly discourages you from getting too involved in the application process. A genuine student counselor will help you understand the process and walk you through it.
3. He promises things that he cannot legally deliver: These could include admission, a student visa, or an authorization to work in another country. This is a huge red flag. Admissions are processed and vetted by the university or college, not by agents, at least at reputed universities. In the case of some countries, such as the US or UK, visa applications may be processed by an officially designated agency in the initial stage, but the ultimate decision to grant or deny a visa is made by a consular official. Your starting point for genuine information about visas should always be the official website of the high commission or embassy concerned. You can even apply online. In addition, remember that a visa does not guarantee entry into another country – you can be turned back after landing at a foreign airport if immigration officials there have reason to suspect you of illegal activities or intentions. No student agent can influence them
4. He glosses over academic concerns and focuses on inane things: If your agent is more concerned about coaching you on things like cultural adjustment, what to pack, and how to find an off-campus job, he probably has the wrong priorities. A good agent should be able to answer your questions about writing application essays, and taking the SAT, TOEFL, IELTS GRE or GMAT. He should be able to explain things like accreditation, course credits, how to choose classes, the academic calendar, practical training opportunities, and so on.
5. He keeps bringing up the name of one or more colleges: If he does this, and cannot explain clearly, why they are the right match for you, then it is another big red flag. It suggests that he does not care about you or understand your goals. However, the application process is about you and not about his agenda. An agent who takes your money and treats you as a secondary concern in the application process is, well, just taking your money. Quite possibly, he is also taking money from the colleges he is plugging, for every student that he recruits for them.
The bottom line is that there is no alternative to playing an active role in your own application process. Nobody understands your educational goals better than you do. A good agent will listen, and provide perspective, information, suggestions and tips based on his experience of guiding other students to successful academic careers. However, if you do not do your own research, you will benefit less than you can from even a good agent. More importantly, if you do not do your own research, you are far less likely to be able to tell a good agent from a fraud.
A SPECIAL NOTE FROM WORLDWIDE EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP CENTER
We are flattered that there are many agents and organizations that want to be like us, or better still, be us. We also noticed that such Fake agents and organizations have probably become rather efficient at telling their customers that they are not “very different” since the range of services they offer might also be similar to ours. How do we know this? Of late, we have received complaints from students and clients that these fake organizations are using our company colors, names and falsely claiming we are partners to deceive people to take their money. We want to emphasize clearly that WORLDWIDE EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP CENTER is not in partnership with any organization or institution in the delivery of their services across the globe with integrity and honesty. On deep diving, some agents were misusing our brand name and advertising on Twitter and other mediums and getting students to enroll with them thinking that they were doing so with WORLDWIDE EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP CENTER. Kindly be vigilant with those corrupt people who are super hungry and walking around with evil intention.
The truth is, while we do not let all these copycat services in the market perturb us, what does perturb us is something else. It is the fact that there are some genuine students and customers who are misled into believing that they are dealing with WORLDWIDE EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP CENTER, whereas, actually they are not. Therefore, we thought it our duty to reach out to such people, to let them know, that they should look out for the official branding before they actually believe it to be WORLDWIDE EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP CENTER that includes both sender email ids as well as our logos.
If you have been approached by anyone masquerading as WORLDWIDE EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP CENTER personnel or by anyone who you feel might not be the real WORLDWIDE EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP CENTER person, do us a favor and drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0550 890 558.