BBB warns parents, students to be on the lookout for standardized testing scams

BBB warns parents, students to be on the lookout for standardized testing scams
Standardized testing (Source: WWNY)

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Even though many colleges aren’t requiring SAT, ACT or other standardized testing scores because of the pandemic, many high school students are still planning to take them.

But some scams trick folks into buying bogus SAT prep materials. While parents want to set their kids up for success, scammers want to set themselves up for a payout.

“As far as college-type scams, these have been around for a long time,” Julie Wheeler, president of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia, said.

Standardized testing scams remain one of the most common.

“The one that we’ve seen most recently is where you receive a phone call and they tell you on the phone that they are going to send you testing materials,” she said.

Unsolicited callers often claim to be from the College Board and want your address and credit card information so they can send you test prep materials.

“The kind of scary thing is they have the student’s name, school and graduating year, so that does make you pause and say, ‘Well, maybe they are legitimate,’” Wheeler said.

Sometimes scammers claim the student himself or herself signed up for these testing materials at school.

“It is a very big target, students and parents that are getting ready to apply to go to college,” she said.

But there are easy ways to avoid these scams.

  • Never provide credit card information over the phone to unsolicited callers.
  • Double-check with your student to see if they did indeed sign up for testing materials.
  • Know how the College Board will and will not contact you.
  • Research any recommendations the College Board has to prepare your student.

“Look at their site, review it, look at what the requirements are for the different tests, how you go about signing up, what prep materials they recommend, and then you’re working with the source,” Wheeler said. “You’re working with the ones who can legitimately help you.”

Another common scam is scholarship offers that require you to pay an upfront registration fee or some kind of deposit. Click here for more information about both of these types of college scams.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.