How to Avoid ACT and SAT Prep Scams

When getting ready to take the ACT or SAT, you may be looking into various prep options. This could be in the way of a tutor or just prep materials you can use at home. There are a number of scammers out there though that want to take advantage of students and their parents when it comes to prep. Here are the steps you’ll 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

One of the most common ACT and SAT prep scams comes from phone calls. Scammers will call claiming to represent the College Board – those who administer the SAT exams. 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 the official number.

The scammers offer prep materials for a fee, requesting the credit card details and a deposit over the phone. The deposit is promised to be returned once the prep materials are sent back to the company. Individuals who pay the scammers will never see the prep materials or any of the money again.

The College Board, and likely most ACT and SAT prep companies, will not contact you through a phone call. They will absolutely not make an unsolicited call, either. Instead, they tend to use online portals to communicate with students and their parents.

Not all scams will look like this, so it’s essential to take additional steps to make sure you don’t lose out on money even if the company looks legit at first glance.

Talk to Your High School

One way to avoid ACT and SAT prep scams when it comes to the materials is to actually talk with your high school. In most cases, they have prep materials for you to use that are either free or discounted. It helps you avoid the possibility of getting scammed completely. You could also ask your teachers or guidance counselor for recommended tutors or companies.

Do Research into Prep Companies

If you’re planning on going with a tutor or prep company for the SAT or ACT, research into individual companies can help you identify whether or not their legit. 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 rely just on testimonials provided by the company. Google and social media reviews can help you get a more accurate picture. Testimonials on a website tend to be cherry-picked by the company.

One great prep company we suggest is Method Test Prep! Check out their amazing suite of prep classes.

Pay with a Credit Card

Many credit cards offer protection for buyers. If you find yourself in a scam, take advantage of consumer protections. You can get the money back. This often isn’t the case with checking accounts or debit cards.

How to Avoid ACT and SAT Prep Scams

Knowing what to look out for when it comes to scams is definitely 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 actually deliver.

See how your ACT or SAT scores affect your acceptance odds with our free College Match Tool.


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