BBB Scam Alert: Cheating on homework leads to extortion scam

College and high school students who hire “tutors” to complete their class assignments are finding themselves the victims of extortion cons. BBB Scam Tracker has gotten reports about scam tutors who make money by threatening to report cheating students. 

How the Scam Works 

You are struggling in class and search online for a tutoring company that can help – not by teaching you the material but by doing the work for you. Victims report paying a couple hundred dollars for “help” with assignments for math and technology classes.   

As soon as you pay up, things don’t go as you expect. Instead of helping you complete your homework, the company instead demands more money. They may claim it’s for “additional research” or make another excuse 

When you refuse to pay, the “tutor” turns on you. They send threatening emails or text messages claiming they will contact your school and expose you as a cheater.  One victim reported to Scam Tracker: “Once you ask for your money back, they will try to email your school or teacher to tell them that you use them and they did your homework.” 

Tips to Avoid a Homework Helper Scam: 

Hiring someone to complete your school assignments is cheating. But if you want to hire a tutor to help you understand the class material, follow these tips. 

  • Ask for referrals. Asking friends, family, and teachers if they have any recommendations. Some schools even offer Honor Society students as free or reduced-cost tutors, so asking at school is a great place to start. 
  • Check references. You should ask the individual tutor or tutoring service for references, and then contact them. It’s best to speak to at least three references. Ask about their experience with the tutor and what sort of results they saw. 
  • Decide availability and rates up front. While tutors may charge extra for additional sessions before a big test, this should all be discussed and negotiated upfront. Last minute surprises and demands are signs of a less-than-scrupulous business. 

For more information: 

See BBB’s tips for hiring a tutor. Find a qualified tutor near you in the BBB directory. Read more about a similar scam, sextortion emails

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at  

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