We are all wary of the African princes with millions just waiting in a bank account to be transferred to us and hit the ‘junk’ button immediately those emails arrive. But there’s a new game in degree fraud town with scam written all over it.
The target receives an email from an education recruitment agency ( in this case: ‘London Recruiters’) saying that they are eligible for a major scholarship for a top UK online university, which covers 95% of the tuition fees.
Instead of the £7,000 to £10,000, they can enrol for their MBA at Rutland University in Leicester for just £699. Yes, just £699*. They are urged to complete the application form with payment within the next 24 hours to secure the scholarship.
Delighted, they complete the application form, pay the £699 and begin their online assessments. Here’s what one victim said when they contacted us with concerns about Rutland’s legitimacy.
‘Things are actually going well and I have been taking online assessments as part of the online course until recently, I was told that I need to take a final assessment in order to participate with the “online convocation” and be able to receive my certificate and transcript of records…. That made me feel suspicious since it was never mentioned before regarding additional fees when taking final assessment…. I did the payment [another £250], although I was doubtful, and took the final examination. There was no online convocation that happened and upon emailing them several times, they said that there were some down servers and the online convocation is rescheduled.’
Rutland University shamelessly use the address of the real University of Leicester and name one of Leicester’s professors as their President.
On their website they claim:
- We are one of the top employers in Leicester supporting more than 7000 jobs and injecting £50 million annually into the regional economy.
- In the 2012 National Student Survey, 97% of Rutland students found their courses intellectually stimulating, compared to all other online universities.
This is entirely fictional.
They claim to be accredited by the British Distance Learning Association – a fictitious body.
Not surprisingly, the phone number on their website doesn’t work, nor the online chat. All communications are by email.
They can’t even SPELL scholarship (see above).
We have reported them to the authorities and we look forward to them being shut down. Unfortunately the victim has almost certainly lost their money and doesn’t have a recognised UK degree.
There have been a number of bogus sites advertising scholarships lately – potentially all from the same degree mill running a number of fake websites. Please don’t be taken in.
*As I type this, the voice in my head has switched to the Safestyle Windows guy.