We are living in a digital world. Everything is online now, which makes it easy to get distracted and lose focus on our goals. Online training scams have become more prevalent than ever before.
It’s easy for people to promise you the world with no strings attached, but what they don’t tell you is that everything has a price tag attached and their “free” offer may be costing you way more than you think! In this article, we will discuss warning signs to avoid these types of scams, as well as the different types of online training scams that exist and how they work. We’ll describe some of the benefits of taking an online course, too!
How do I know if an online training course is legitimate?
One way to know if a course is legitimate is by looking for these key indicators:
- Affordability. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Beware of any advertisements that promise an expensive certification or degree without actually telling you the total cost. You may also want to do some research on what the average cost of a course is in your area.
- Research. Search for reviews on the company or individual offering the training, as well as their content and curriculum.
- Accreditation: If you are looking at an accredited online training program, then that means it has been evaluated by experts to ensure its quality. Remember though – just because a program is accredited, it doesn’t mean that the course content is valuable or practical.
- Tuition: The average cost of an online course ranges anywhere from $300 to more than $20,000! It’s important to take a close look at what you’re getting and how much it will cost before signing up for anything too expensive.
- Student Support: How will you be able to get help if you have any questions? Do they offer a live chat option or email support? Is there someone available for phone consultations?
- Course Materials: If the course is online, it’s important to ensure that all of the materials are included. Delayed shipment and no access to the materials will leave you paying for a course that’s not fulfilling.
- Course Duration: How long is this program? Is it something you want to do in your spare time or are you looking for more of an intensive, full-time commitment?
What are some examples of online training scams?
There are many types of online training scams. Here are some examples:
- Courses that you can’t download.
- Unclear pricing, hidden fees, or charges for things like shipping and handling that aren’t made clear before signing up.
- Poor customer service when students have questions about their course materials.
- Exorbitant monthly fees that can’t be canceled.
- Poor content and materials, which are not what the description promised.
- Promises of high earnings or job placement in a field you’re just learning about for the first time.
- Promises of a certificate or degree from an online university that is not verified.
- Legal jargon in the terms and conditions, which can be difficult to understand even for lawyers. This language may say that once you sign up, it’s too late to cancel your account. It might also exclude students’ rights under their state laws like the one in California.
- The opportunity to work at your own pace.
- A variety of courses available that may not be offered by local universities.
- An important thing about online courses is they’re often longer than in a traditional classroom setting, which means more time spent on the subject matter and greater access for students with disabilities or those with other time constraints.
- Some courses are offered free of charge, but this is seldom the case and it’s important to remember that they too can come with hidden costs.
- The courses provide a flexible schedule for students who may not be able to take traditional classes due to work or family commitments. Online learning allows them access to complete courses without the need for a physical classroom.
Disadvantages of online courses could be that they are not as rigorous and cannot provide in depth, one on one time with instructors or peers.
Students may also lack the ability to meet with classmates outside of scheduled class times or miss out on potential networking opportunities.
Additionally, online courses can be more expensive than traditional classes and often come with hidden costs such as course fees, textbooks and other study materials which could make for a costly investment in education.
For many, the time commitment required for traditional classes is too much of a burden on work or family commitments. Online learning allows them access to complete courses without the need for a physical classroom. However, there are disadvantages to online courses that can make it more expensive and less beneficial than traditional settings such as the inability of students to meet with classmates outside of scheduled class times.
Online training scams can make a person miss out on potential networking opportunities and the opportunity to meet with classmates outside of scheduled class times. Furthermore, online courses are often more expensive than traditional classes which come with hidden costs such as course fees, textbooks and other study materials making for a costly investment in education.
How to spot online training scams
Online training scams have been on the rise over recent years, and while they’re not entirely difficult to spot if you know what to look for, there are still those who fall victim.
Here are some warning signs that an online course may be a scam:
- Lack of information about price or content before signing up.
- Claims that “students always pass.”
- Guaranteed success, yet no mention of what the student will be studying or doing in the course.
- Vague information about hours required for completion and cost of tuition.
- Payment by wire transfer only – this is a major red flag!
If you see any signs that an online course might be a scam, you should immediately walk away.
Types of Online Courses
There are two types of online courses: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous courses allow students to interact with instructors in real-time, while asynchronous courses do not require the student to be at a specific time or place because they can still learn from lectures, videos, reading materials, etc. which are available at any time.
Synchronous courses are widely used in areas like medicine, law, and business where quick feedback is necessary to help the student learn as quickly as possible. Advantages of synchronous courses include that they’re often low-cost because there’s no need for a physical classroom or facilitator on site; an instructor can be reached easily by email or phone; and they allow for group discussions and personalized feedback. Disadvantages include that students who need to access the course outside of business hours may not have a way to communicate with instructors, which can make it difficult if there’s an emergency (even though this is rare); most programs are only available in English-speaking countries, but there are exceptions; and the courses tend to be short-term–most programs last one or two years.
Asynchronous courses are courses that are not synchronized. In other words, the student and instructor don’t take part in a synchronizing course together at the same time. One way to think about it is like this: asynchronous courses might be better suited for those who want more control over their schedule or need flexibility with assignments; they often require self-study and independent work, which is a big benefit for self-motivated students.
How do I know if an online course is legitimate?
The best way to find out if an online course is legitimate is to ask the opinion of someone who has taken it. You can also look for reviews from people who have completed the course that you’re interested in, and pay attention to how those courses are accredited; if they come from a reputable organization like College Connection Academy or Capella University, then you should feel more confident about your decision.
If the course isn’t accredited, it’s a warning sign that something is not quite right; there are even some courses out there with accreditation from bogus organizations or colleges that don’t exist at all!
Do your research before paying course creators
I Buy I Review’s mission is to review online courses to give you a better idea if online training programs are legitimate or a scam. Check out our review of Modern Millionaires here if you’re interested in this course.
The lesson in all this: Do your research before paying course creators. Don’t be taken for a ride! Make sure you know the person behind an online course, and that they’re not hiding under layers of fake names or aliases. When it comes to education, there are plenty of trustworthy sources out there; never settle for less than the best.
I buy and review courses so you don’t have to. Sometimes, I even find courses that are legitimate and worthwhile; and that’s how I accidentally came across one that led me to building a 6-figure business in a little under 5 years. Now, I still review courses because it’s my favorite hobby. 🙂 Learn more about me here.