Fake university recruitment agents are a problem for Australian Universities. They pretend to be partners of various Australian universities in an attempt to either scam hopeful students or process them into education programs not necessarily associated with the uni they purport to represent.
International student recruitment agencies play an important role in many universities’ strategic international enrolment efforts, facilitating overseas study for hundreds of thousands of students annually, not just in Australia but around the world. They make it easier for a student to submit their application, accept their offer, apply for a student visa and prepare for University life when they arrive in a new country, such as Australia.
For young international students where English is perhaps their second language and who may be leaving home for the first time, their agent is an important figure in their matriculation into university life, but also settling into a new country.
Real versus a Fake university agent
Agents are compensated by the university for their efforts to recruit suitably qualified students. They are often registered and accredited by the University to conduct their work.
Fake agents are not registered or accredited and do not have a formal relationship with the university they claim to represent. They are often not qualified to provide advice and their intent is to either de-fraud the student or send them to an educational institution not related to the target university.
How do the fake university agent scams work?
Fake agents can sometimes create complex online webs to attract and snare prospective students using omni-channel marketing to add credibility to their scam.
Fake Student Agents Scam Australian students
The problem goes beyond just recruitment. bad actors posing as agents also target existing students in an attempt to fleece them of their money intended for study by offering discounts on tuition and enrolment fees.
A few years ago scammers advertised online through Chinese language forums such as 6park and Yeeyi and social media services including WeChat and Facebook — targeted university students in Melbourne and Sydney, offering victims 10 per cent discounts on tuition fees.
Posing as education agents for major universities, victims were told their fees would be passed on to their respective universities.
Unfortunately for victims, these empty promises have resulted in large debt — one student was alleged to have racked up more than $35,000 in tuition debt.
The university scammers were themselves international students, but identified themselves to victims as education agents from Melbourne University, Monash University, RMIT and Deakin University.
How Universities can address the issue and prevent the issue
- Audit: Understand how big the problem is. Utilise advanced monitoring technology that uses smart brand protection crawlers such as ‘spiders’, which scan millions of web pages, social media pages etc at high speed to find unauthorized digital properties.
- Analyze: Smart brand protection technology can connect related results and uncover the digital footprint of serious infringers across multiple channels.
- Prioritise: Rank the worst offenders; there are multiple metrics, such as the number of digital properties related to an offender, geographic reach of digital properties, age of digital properties and SEO ranking of digital properties etc.
- Enforce: Working with Registrars, ISP, Google and law enforcement to ensure that offending digital properties are suspended, removed and where appropriate the offender is charged or prosecuted.
Benefits of using brandsec monitoring technology and services
- Uncover – Look beneath the surface to see the thousands of possible connections fake agent digital properties
- Manage – Use advanced software and a user friendly portal to connect every piece of your online and offline data.
Be Global – Through brandsec and our partner Corsearch, Utilise our extensive worldwide network and multilingual teams to take action where you need it most.
Maximize ROI – Spend valuable time and resources on the highest priority cases.
For more information on brand protection issues that relate to universities, check out our block: Universities and Brand Protection. It provides insights into the varying types of online brand issues a university faces on a day-to-day basis.
bandsec is a corporate domain name management and brand protection company that looks after many of Australia, New Zealand and Asia’s top publicly listed brands. We provide monitoring and enforcement services, DNS, SSL Management, domain name brokerage and dispute management and brand security consultation services.