How to Avoid ACT and SAT Prep Scams

When getting ready to take the ACT or SAT, you’ll find various ACT/SAT prep options including tutors and ACT/SAT prep course materials you can use at home. While you’re researching the best form of preparation for you, you need to be aware of ACT/SAT prep scams. Unfortunately, there are a number of scammers out there who will take advantage of students and their parents when it comes to ACT/SAT prep.

Identifying scams can be difficult. These scammers have likely done their research and often have a lot of personal information about you. When they talk to you, they may sound legitimate and convincing. If they catch you by surprise, it may be harder to determine if it is a scam or not. But there’s no need to worry! We have outlined what you need to know to avoid ACT and SAT prep scams.

College student sitting in the dark, glaring at his laptop.

Know What The Scams Look Like

According to the Better Business Bureau, the most common ACT/SAT prep scams come from phone calls. Scammers will call students or their families claiming to represent the College Board (those who administer the SAT exams) or another related organization. They will often have personal information about the student, making the call seem legit. These callers will also spoof the phone number and caller ID to make it appear they are calling from an official number.

Scammers may offer prep materials for a fee, request your credit card details and a deposit over the phone, and ask for your address. The deposit is promised to be returned once the prep materials are sent back to the company. Unfortunately, individuals who pay scammers will never see the prep materials or any of the money again and run the risk of the scammers using their information elsewhere.

If you get an unsolicited phone call regarding ACT/SAT prep, do not give them any of your personal information without confirming who they are. The College Board, and most ACT and SAT prep companies, will not contact you through a phone call. Instead, they tend to use online portals to communicate with students and their parents. They will also never ask for your payment information over the phone or by email. If you suspect that a phone call is a scam or they start to get insistent or aggressive, hang up the phone.

Not all scams will look like this, so it’s essential to be aware of what they might do or say. We want to make sure you don’t lose out on money, even if the scammer sounds legitimate.

Talk to Your High School

One way to avoid ACT/SAT prep scams when it comes to the materials is to talk with your high school. In most cases, they have prep materials for you to use that are either free or discounted. This helps you save money and avoid the possibility of getting scammed.

You could also ask your teachers or guidance counselor for recommended tutors or companies. You probably have more readily available resources and study materials than you think, so don’t hesitate to ask anyone at your high school who can point you in the right direction.

Do Research into Prep Companies

If you’re planning on going with a tutor or prep company for your ACT/SAT test prep, research individual companies to identify whether or not they’re legitimate. Check out their website, social media, reviews, and more to see if they actually deliver on what they promise.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for suspicious reviews and don’t only rely on testimonials provided by the company. Google and social media reviews can help you get a more accurate picture. If you find a testing center locally, stop by and ask to talk to someone who can help you find the resources you need. This will help you determine their legitimacy.

One great company with an amazing suite of ACT/SAT prep classes that we personally suggest is Method Test Prep!

Pay with a Credit Card

Many credit cards offer protection for buyers. So, if you find yourself in a scam, take advantage of consumer protections to get the money back. Credit card companies will often refund your money with no issue, something that’s not typically the case with checking accounts, debit cards, or digital wallets. Make sure you only give your payment information to a trusted source. We do not recommend giving your payment information over the phone. Opt for an in-person or online payment option instead.

How to Avoid ACT and SAT Prep Scams

Knowing what to look out for when it comes to scams is half the battle. If you plan to work with a prep company, do your homework. Be sure to look carefully into their background, their promises, and their reviews to ensure they are who they say they are and deliver on their promise of ACT/SAT test prep.

Are you wondering if you should seek ACT/SAT test prep? See how your ACT or SAT scores affect your acceptance odds with our free College Match Tool!