The internet is a great source of information. You could research, connect with friends and relatives, shop for various things, and you could even finish or earn an online college degree. With the advent of technology, everything seems to be just a click away. But the world wide web is not just a source of facts, it is also full of scams.
More students are becoming interested in acquiring online college degrees. In fact, as of 2007, there are already 3.7 million online students. It is easier for working parents, single parents and the disabled to take online college degrees since geographical location is not a big issue. Time and budget would depend on the student.
But online college programs are not the only one increasing in popularity. Bogus online colleges are also proliferating on the internet. The issue of having fake college degrees and diplomas is not new, the internet just gave the problem a new look. Nowadays they are called diploma or degree mills. Come to think of it, there would be such illegal and fraudulent activity if there is no demand for it.
Fake online colleges would show or provide an illusion that they are reputable and solid online academic institutions. But when researchers and experts check their domain name, it would show that they do not have a concrete campus or office or they may be located in states where state laws covering illegal diplomas are not to stringent. States governments are starting to take notice of such problem. There are states that have created offices and agencies that would be monitoring unaccredited colleges, online or traditional classroom setup.
How could you differentiate illegal and legitimate online colleges and universities? There are two ways these fake institutions would market. They could blatantly announce that they are selling bogus college diplomas, while there are others which would pretend to have solid academic background and fool the people. How do you protect yourself from such scams?
• Ask questions. It has been a common notion to never question a college or a university. But when dealing with online colleges, it is important to ask questions about management, offered courses, etc. to get an idea about its credibility.
• Check the accreditation of the online college in question. Even if they are saying that they are accredited do not settle until you have completely verified their accreditation. Sometimes they would claim accreditation but not from a recognized agency like U. S. Department of Education and Council of Higher Education Accreditation.
• They do not require anything else other than credit card information. Online colleges require high school transcript, academic record from previous academic institution and test scores. It is likely you are dealing with fake institutions if the only thing important for them is money.
• Earning your degree would just take you about 30 days after enrolment. A real college degree, even if it is online, is something that you would have to earn and not something that would be handed to you regardless of your status.
• The online college in question has multiple complaints filed against them. You could check your local state government if they have lists of unaccredited colleges.
Online college degrees are made by college institutions to cater or answer to the needs of employed, single and disabled students. However, even if they are online courses, it does not mean that they can be quickly finished without even sweating a bit. Currently the U.S. government has not national or federal requirement that online colleges be recognized and accredited by a specific agency. Being cautious is important.