Sending a child to study abroad is a dream for parents, but it can become a nightmare if they fall for scams. The plight of the 700 Indian students conned by agents with fake admission letters for Canadian colleges shows how vulnerable international students can be. Parents also bear the brunt as they invest their life savings hoping to secure a bright future for their children, but ending up dealing with fraudsters. 

Unfortunately, students and parents in India targeting countries like Canada, Australia, the UK, and the US as their dream educational destinations are often soft targets. Visa agents use dishonest tactics to extract money and leave students in trouble thousands of miles away from their homes and families.  

While parents blame the unscrupulous consultants for deceiving them, awareness can keep them ahead of the scams. There are several red flags that parents and students can watch out for during the admission process. Being a little vigilant can save them from dire consequences such as visa fraud and deportation that tarnish the student’s immigration record and render them ineligible for future visas. 

Here are the warning signs to watch out for while dealing with an agent- 


Beware if an agent does not focus on academic aspects such as the choice of universities, evaluation of programmes, and preparation for SAT-GPA. Fake ones often overlook these areas and lay emphasis on painting a rosy picture of a bright future abroad only to trap the students and their parents. Conversely, genuine consultants offer a wealth of information about accreditation, academic calendars, course credits, and practical training opportunities. 


If an agent makes unrealistic claims such as getting hefty scholarships and easy admissions to top-tier universities without impressive academic records and test scores, think twice about going ahead with the collaboration. Watch out if they claim to represent reputable universities or study abroad consultants and double-check facts. 


An immigration consultant is not in the place to commit admission on behalf of foreign educational institutions. At the same time, they cannot guarantee a visa in exchange for money because the process and acceptance are the government’s call. Don’t fall for an agent who promises either of these. 


If the agent’s claims do not align with the process on the official university website, it is a reason to worry. For example, pay heed if he says that the student can work in the study abroad destination without attending classes, but the university and the embassy state different rules regarding work-study arrangements. Such contradictory claims suggest something is amiss.  


The best piece of advice to stay safe from agent scams is to avoid them altogether and handle the application process independently. You can consider applying directly through the college’s official website, as rules and visa fees are clearly available there. If you still want to collaborate with an agent, you must conduct thorough checks, inquire about their experience, verify their credentials, and go through client reviews.  

Besides choosing an agent wisely, you must be aware of the common frauds and scams so that you can watch out for them. Submitting fake academic records to colleges, providing false bank documents to the embassy, and enrolling students in unrecognized universities are potential scams to be aware of. Dishonest agents also deceive students regarding admission fees for colleges. 

Exercising caution, conducting thorough research, and seeking guidance from reliable sources can help students and parents to avoid falling for fraudulent practices that could shatter their dreams of studying abroad. 

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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