College test prep scams targeting parents of high school students

There are several scams targeting parents of high school students preparing for college.

The scammers claim to be from the organization responsible for the PSAT and SAT tests. They call or email you, asking for credit card numbers so they can send prep materials that the student has supposedly requested.

“There’s so much information and how do you know you’re doing the right thing how do you know this person that’s calling you or that’s emailing you is even the right person,” Sharane Gott said, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana. “That’s exactly what skeemers and scammers depend on.”

Experts say organization is essential for a parent preparing for their student’s college enrollment.

“All you have to do is take your time to do it,” Gott said. “The best thing if you get a call is to ask them to send you the information in the mail.”

The Better Business Bureau says you should never give ability to a stranger to have access to your funds without first trusting them.

“They’re using your feelings so.. don’t you want to do the best thing for your child… this is the best thing,” Gott said. “They’re using your feelings and you’re not using your brain.”

Coordinator of Student Services for Lafayette Parish School System, Tonya Hebert, said it is important for high school seniors to communicate with their counselor when it comes to college preparation.

“High school seniors should always, always have a relationship with their counselor and see what are the scholarships out there,” Hebert said. “It all starts with a counselor because the counselor has the official website and the official information of PSAT, SAT, ACT.”

“They have all that information,” Hebert said, “and they do through class lessons or individual academic counseling that they do at the schools.”

Here are some suggestions to avoid this scam:

  • Legitimate companies will never ask you to give credit card, bank account or password information over the phone or via email.
  • Make sure the company offering the test prep materials is legitimate by researching them online.
  • If the scammer does contact you by phone, ask for the information they’re trying to give you to be mailed.
Author: Sylvia Masters
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