The Better Business Bureau has identified a nationwide phone scam regarding SAT prep materials. Excerpts from the article about this scam were taken from BBB’s website after a VPS family received a call requesting a deposit for PSAT materials. VPS does not endorse any testing preparation programs or materials. FREE PSAT/SAT preparation materials can be found on Khan Academy. Check with a VPS counselor about March’s in-school SAT testing day or any college preparation questions.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. For information how to avoid scams, check out BBB.org/AvoidScams.
For parents of high school students, SAT scores are a huge deal. Considering the cost of college admissions, some families feel paying for tutors and test prep materials may be worth the price. But watch out for con artists eager to take advantage of this. Scammers – with access to kids’ names and school information – are tricking parents into paying for bogus SAT prep materials.
How the Scam Works
You get an unsolicited call from a person claiming to be from the College Board, the company responsible for SAT tests, or another educational organization. The caller claims to be confirming your address, so they can send test prep materials, such as books, CDs, or videos, that your child requested at school.
It seems so believable! Several victims reported to BBB Scam Tracker that the caller even had their child’s name, phone number, and/or school information.
Of course, there’s a catch. The caller needs you to pay a deposit, sometimes several hundred dollars, for the materials. They claim it will be refunded when the materials are returned. Unfortunately, if you provide your address and credit card details, the materials will never arrive, and your deposit will never be refunded. Scammers now have your credit card number and other personal information.
How to Avoid Test Prep Scams
- Always be wary of unsolicited callers. If someone calls out of the blue, always research their organization before you share personal information or agree to receive services or products. Look up the business they claim to represent at BBB.org. Search the name along with the words “scam” or “complaint” to find out if other consumers have had negative experiences. Check BBB Scam Tracker to see if anyone else has filed a report about the company.
- Understand the College Board’s practices. The College Board will never ask you for bank or credit card information over the phone or via email. If a caller suggests otherwise, hang up. Learn more about the College Board’s policies.
- Use your credit card when possible. Credit cards may refund your money if they spot a fraudulent charge or if you report one in a timely manner. You may not be offered the same protection if you pay with your debit card or other payment options. Never agree to pay a stranger with a money wire, prepaid cards, or digital wallet, such as Cash App or Venmo.
This program is not sponsored by Vancouver Public Schools. Approval to distribute flyers is a community service and does not imply endorsement.