Custom Essay Writing Scams And Frauds

There are many custom essay companies on the web. Some are genuine. Some are not. It is hard to spot which are the genuine companies. Fraudulent, dodgy companies will make you all sorts of guarantees and promises to induce you into making a payment.

Remember, not all essay companies operate this way. There are some simple checks you can carry out to protect yourself from the essay sharks that are just out there to make a ‘quick buck’.

Whether or not you choose to use Essay UK, we urge you to protect yourself and learn how to tell the difference between a genuine company and a scam.

  • Use a UK-based Company.
  • Why? Because if the Company is based in the UK, they are subject to UK Law, and the jurisdiction of the UK courts. Can you imagine trying to sue a company based in India or Pakistan? Even if you were successful, how would you get your money if they didn’t pay?

    If you choose a UK company, you won’t necessarily get a qualified UK writer but at least if they are based in the UK, you’ll be able to take them to court if things go wrong.

    Of course, many companies claim to be UK-based but aren’t really — so you need to run a few checks to make sure you’re really dealing with a UK company - and don’t be fooled by easy tricks such as the use of ‘co.uk’ domains which anyone can buy (see ‘Top 10 ‘tricks’ used by scam essay companies’ below).

  • Make sure they have a genuine UK landline telephone number.
  • Anyone can get an 0845 or 0800 number, and these numbers can be forwarded to anywhere in the world.

    If the Company claims they’re using 0845 or 0800 numbers because it lets their customers ring them cheaply, thank them for being so considerate — and then ask them for a UK landline number you can call them on - because if they’re in the UK, they must have one as well.

    It’s a little harder to get a UK landline number if you’re not in the UK- although not impossible. Unfortunately, some scam companies have set up call forwarding which again, can be used to send the call anywhere in the world (at your expense!). So give the number a call.

    • Listen to the ringtone - does it sound odd?
    • Listen to their accent (if they answer).
    • Ask them where they’re based.

    If they say somewhere you’re familiar with, like ‘London’ for example, ask them a couple of ‘local knowledge’ questions about London which wouldn’t be easy to look up on Google.

    Our landline number is 0203 908 8221. Please give us a call - you won't hear any strange ring tones or foreign voices here!

  • Check their credentials.
  • It’s safer to deal with registered companies as they have to comply with certain legal requirements. Under UK law, all registered companies must list on their website their company number, as well as some other details (see ‘Legal Requirements for UK Websites’ below).. If the details they provide are genuine, they’ll be listed at Companies House. You can run a free search on the Companies House site using ‘Web Check’.

    If they provide a ‘Company Number’, make sure it actually matches the name registered at Companies House, and make sure the Company is not listed as ‘Dissolved’ or has no pending applications (to be struck off, i.e. removed from the register, for example).

    If they do check out at Companies House but you run in to difficulties with the Company at a later stage, you can download a lot of useful information about them from the Companies House website, including the names and addresses of the directors and company secretaries, for a small fee of approximately £1.00 per document.

    Click here to download our certificate of incorporation.

  • Ask for their UK bank account details.
  • Unless they have a contact in the UK helping them, it’s practically impossible for a foreign company to get a UK bank account. So ask them for their bank account information - account name, sort code, account number and the name of the bank.

    Don’t accept any excuses for them not giving you this information - it would be extremely difficult for you to misuse it, so they have no reason to refuse to hand it over.

    To ensure they didn’t just give you fake details, make a small deposit into their bank account of a few pence and ask them to confirm what the amount was. They should be able to do this straight away or within a few minutes if the account belongs to them as companies have access to internet banking to check for payments from their customers, and to process telephone payments.

  • Consider their prices - are they realistic?
  • Remember that they exist to make a profit. So realistically, they’re going to be paying their writers between 10 and 30% of the fee that they charge you.

    Now, ask yourself, would you complete the work for this fee? Would a professional writer? If the answer is no, be on your guard!

    If prices look too good to be true, they probably are (unfortunately).

  • Look for UK press coverage.
  • This isn’t a guarantee that a company is genuine and UK based, but if reporters have visited the Company’s offices, it’s a good sign.

    Be aware that quotes are easy to fake - so don’t believe press coverage you read on their website. Where they say for example that ‘The Times bought an essay from them and said it was great’, go and look up the story on the newspaper’s website, or ask for proof that the story is genuine.

    Newspapers frequently commission undercover journalists to place orders, as well. So if you see on a newspaper’s website that a newspaper has done this, and they actually got an essay delivered for their money, this is a good indication that the Company is at least not a scam.

  • Read the website.
  • We’re shocked and amazed that people still order from scam companies when the content of their websites are often written in ‘pigeon English’. If you struggle with English yourself, get a native English speaker to have a quick look over the site. Is it well written? Whilst a few spelling mistakes might just be genuine typos, there are certain common mistakes that will be obvious to a native English speaker, but not so obvious to someone with English as their second language.

    Don’t be fooled by these easy-to-do tricks. Anyone can replicate them.

  • Using a co.uk domain name
  • Remember that anyone, anywhere in the world, can buy a co.uk domain name. Do you really think this means you’re dealing with a UK company? Think again.

  • Using ‘British’ images
  • Some of the websites that appear in Google’s listings for custom essays have UK flags and images of UK universities. Anyone can put these images on their website. It doesn’t mean they’re based in the UK!

  • Displaying convincing testimonials
  • Anyone can write a good fake ‘testimonial’ and make it sound genuine. It happens a lot, as you might have guessed, and the Office of Fair Trading are often involved with companies making wild claims through fake customer testimonials. Did you know that under UK law, companies are obliged to provide evidence that testimonials are genuine, if requested?

    Keep in mind: Most students who have used a custom essay service prefer to keep their identity confidential and would never give permission for their name or photograph to appear on a custom essay website. If you see a testimonial with a name and photo on a custom essay website, it is almost certainly FAKE. This tells you something about the company behind the website.

  • Writing shining ‘Reviews’ on other websites and forums
  • These are really easy to do - the Company just registers for a new account, and creates a few fake messages, pretending to be a student, saying how they got a great essay from the Company’s website. The same companies often slate other, genuine websites to gain an advantage. Don’t trust reviews unless you’re certain who wrote them.

  • Claiming the Press have investigated them, favourably
  • Anyone can write press quotations on their website, but are they genuine? You need to check out how genuine they are on the newspaper’s website. Often, quotes are taken out of context, or a website will write 'as featured in ... [newspaper name]', when the review in that newspaper was actually negative.

    Keep in mind: Newspapers tend to misunderstand what custom essay writing services are about, and often paint companies in a negative light. There have been no positive reviews of other companies to our knowledge. If a website says they were featured in a particular publication, it was almost certainly negative press!

  • Using paid listings on Google Adwords
  • You might think because Google allows a company to advertise its website on their paid listings, the website must be genuine. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. We complain almost every week to Google about scam companies posting adverts on the highlighted search results, but Google take no action. Don’t trust a site just because Google allow them to advertise.

  • Endorsements
  • You might see some attractive badges on the Company’s website that suggest they are part of ‘consumer protection’ groups. These are very easy to forge (and if you do a little research, you’ll often find that the groups don’t exist). You should also be wary of them name dropping, saying they work with companies you know to be reputable. Check out their claims as we’ve found many are just shameless lies!

    Another trick we’ve noticed is that some sites use a newspaper’s logo next to a quote. Don’t be fooled. Just because the Company is using the newspaper’s logo, doesn’t mean the story is authentic. Check out the story on the newspaper’s website - check it exists, and if it does, that the quote hasn’t been taken out of context.

    All UK websites must comply with a number of legal requirements. Our company complies with all of the legal requirements for UK websites. If the website you’re thinking of using doesn’t comply with this list, ask yourself whether the Company is likely to be a genuine UK-based company.

    Briefly, UK websites must:

    • Display their actual company name (not just the website name) somewhere obvious on the website. For example: ‘Student Academic Services Limited’
    • Where the company name is different to the website name, they must explain the relationship. For example, ‘Essay UK is a trading name of Student Academic Services Limited’
    • The Company’s place of registration must be displayed - for example, ‘Student Academic Services Ltd is a Company registered in England and Wales
    • The Company’s registration number must be displayed - for example, ‘Company Number 0886648′. 
    • The email address must be displayed.  It is not sufficient to have only a contact form.
    • The registered office address must be displayed.  It is fine to give the PO box address as well for correspondence, but a PO Box cannot be a registered office!
    • The VAT registration number must be quoted (where there is one)
    • Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous, and state clearly whether they are inclusive or exclusive of VAT and delivery costs. 

    Why Do Students Feel As If They Need Them?

    I recently had the opportunity to speak with a former writer for a prestigious essay writing service and his experience in the industry.

    "I have witnessed the steady growth of this industry for years. When I became part of the team for Rush Essay, I thought we would be writing academic content for students with below-average capacity. I was in for a surprise. We got orders from all types of students - lazy ones who only want to find an easier way out of a messy situation, as well as really smart young people who simply couldn't find the time to do their own work.

    I was convinced that students who got into Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, and other prestigious US and UK universities would work much harder than the ones admitted to "secondary" schools. In fact, they do work hard; and that is the exact reason why they cannot afford to fail. In some cases, the assignment's requirements are so complex that it's difficult for the students to understand what the real question is. The struggles of ESL students are even greater; it is nearly impossible for them to produce degree-level academic content. Since the charges for plagiarism are serious, they have to rely on essay writing services as a solution that provides unique content by the given deadline."

    Some statistics - Who buys papers online?

    The essay writing industry is a source of interesting statistical data. California, New York and Texas are the most popular regions where orders were coming from. Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, NYU, Columbia, University of Houston, and other institutions from these states are known for their competitive systems. A student who hopes to graduate from one of these universities usually needs to rely on "unorthodox" methods to deal with all challenges imposed by the professors. Since academic writing is becoming one of the most prominent aspects of the educational system, the constant development of the custom-writing industry is clearly justified.

    The most popular types of content requested from custom-writing services are essays, research papers, and MA thesis. Students have an abundance of essays and research papers to write, so there is nothing unusual in the fact that professional writers mostly deal with these types of assignments. When it comes to subjects, students most commonly struggle with projects for Business, English language, and Management courses.

    According to those within the industry, buying papers is a necessary reaction to serious underlying issues in the educational system. All college and university professors will tell you the same thing: to them, the act of purchasing papers online is no different than plagiarism. However, some argue that the issue is more complex than that claiming, that the content completed by professional writers is not plagiarized. It is completely unique, well-researched and properly-referenced. When a customer buys this type of product, he has the right to use it as a source for another paper, or simply submit it as his own. The teacher may suspect that the student didn't write a particular paper, but there is no way to prove such claims. Higher education is an industry on its own. Universities accept more applicants, including international students who don't have the needed grasp of the English language to write extraordinary academic content. On the other hand, they don't provide effective support that would enable these students to fit into the system.

    The benefits of using custom-writing services are immense for foreign students. In addition, students with part-time jobs, older students who have families and those who are going through tough personal struggles simply need help to go through all challenges they face. The rapid growth of the custom-writing industry is a symptom of the great weaknesses within the educational system, which put students through a great deal of stress and emotional struggle.

    What About The Moral Argument?

    We all know the definition of cheating is, and simply saying that the work is more challenging for most or that they may not receive enough support from educators, or have enough time to dedicate to the work does not change the definition of cheating, or make it right in any way. Speaking from both ends of the argument, there are those that feel as if these services are creating lazy students and helping to grow an unprepared workforce.

    Writing is a vital skill that is applied in many areas of life, especially for those who are entering the workforce, whether they are doing so as an employee or a business owner.

    With communications being a vital skill for anyone entering the workforce, our education system recognizes this and strives to prepare our students by requiring them to improve this skill through writing assignments. By outsourcing the work, students, are depriving themselves of the opportunity to strengthen their communications and writing skills.

    Are professors and teachers that difficult to reach that so many prefer to risk the stiff penalties of being caught cheating, rather than asking for help? There are many other options available for international, and any other student that may be struggling to keep up, from study groups, to programs within schools and Universities, such as writing centers. What they do require, however, is that the student actually make an effort, by simply making the decision to apply themselves.

    Follow Nancy Laws on Twitter: www.twitter.com/shemeets

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