Last week, state Attorney General Ashley Moody warned parents of high school students about emerging standardized test preparation scams.
As graduation approaches, scammers often attempt to deceive parents into paying for illegitimate test prep services. Scammers pose as members of the College Board or other educational organizations and attempt to steal credit card information by offering fake test prep material with the promise of improving test scores.
“Standardized tests can create a lot of stress for high schoolers and parents alike. In an effort to ease the burden and improve test scores, many parents purchase test prep services for their children. Unfortunately, scammers will often pose as members of educational organizations in an attempt to swindle parents—promising test prep and other helpful services with no intention of delivering a product or service. With the next round of standardized tests now underway through the summer, I want to make sure that no child or parent will have extra stress added to their lives caused by scammers selling fake promises,” Moody said.
The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker recently received several reports that scammers may have Florida students’ personal and school information—making imposter phone calls sound even more legitimate to parents. The imposter may claim that a deposit needs to be made, sometimes asking for hundreds of dollars, before test prep materials can be delivered.
To avoid test prep scams, Moody encourages parents to follow these tips:
- Know that the College Board will not ask for passwords, bank accounts or credit card numbers by phone or email, or make unsolicited calls to students or parents;
- See if the student’s school, local library or community center offers free or discounted test preparation materials;
- Check with the student’s school to see if a solicitation received is legitimate and tied to a school offering as it may claim;
- Be wary of any unsolicited call, especially if the caller requests banking or other personal information;
- Do not provide banking or credit card information in response to an unsolicited call, email or social media message; and
- Pay with a credit card if possible—credit cards tend to offer greater consumer protections and are not directly tied to a checking account.