Finding the right company to help you get your IT certifications is important. Here are some hints on warning signs to help you avoid scams.
IT certifications are becoming essential for career progression and fulfillment within the IT sector. Certification proves your skill level and proficiency in a measurable way, allowing prospective employers to get a clear perspective of your abilities and compare and contrast effectively between you and other applicants.
Certifications also allow you to continue your professional development and learning and give you the option of narrowing in your skills to a select specialty. Agencies such as the DOD also require a setlist of 5 certifications for all their tech employees.
So, with such huge benefits to be gained from IT certifications, and their increased popularity it’s not surprising that some nefarious individuals have created scam certification companies, designed to leave you paying out of pocket and without a certification.
Of course, it is important to emphasize that scams are rare and there are lots of amazing certification companies out there who professionals visit time and time again.
To make sure you’re safe however, in this article we’ll be looking at some top tips to help you avoid scam IT certification companies.
The Website (Overall)
We’ll be taking a closer look at some of the individual aspects of an IT certification company website later in this article, but the overall website itself can also be a strong indicator of a scam company. At the bottom of the webpage, there should be a copyright date. While some genuine companies can take time to update this, particularly at the start of the year, out-of-date copyright or no date at all should be seen as a concerning sign.
You should also look at the website’s overall appearance. Does it seem like it has been designed, or does it look like a copy-and-paste template? Are there frequent typos, or links that are broken or seem irrelevant to the website? If so, it is likely that what you’re looking at is either a scam or an unprofessional company that should be avoided anyway.
Testimonials and Reviews (On the Website)
Almost all certification websites will have testimonials and reviews on their website which can be a good tool for promoting confidence and drawing attention to the quality of the services offered by the company. However, it is important that you don’t rely on the reviews and testimonials given on a website to make your decision.
You should look closer at these comments — do they seem vague or too generic? Are the names of those quoted suspicious such as ‘Ms. Smith’, or do they make bold or general statements such as ‘the best course ever!’ without going into any more detail as to why this is so? If you notice this, then it could be possible that the reviews and testimonials have been faked by a scam company.
You should always do a general search of the company that you’re considering and should try to source reviews away from the website. Interacting with individuals who have actually experienced the course and can reliably explain to you their experiences can be invaluable for deciding if an IT certification company is right for you, as well as helping you to steer clear from the fakes.
Is the company’s contact information clearly displayed, does it seem professional, and are there multiple options for contact? A company that only has a “Contact Us” form or one email should be viewed with suspicion. A company that also uses an email that seems personal and not professional should also be viewed as sketchy. A reliable website will have a dedicated ‘contact us’ page with multiple options for contact such as a form, phone number, email, and address. Addresses are very important for ruling out scam companies, as this allows you to research the business’ location on mapping sites.
Reverse Image Search
Some of the more advanced scam websites will use images of their ‘course providers’ which can make their service seem far more believable and puts viewers at ease as it adds a face to a name. However, in the case of scam companies, these images can be stock images or even images stolen from other websites.
To ensure you’re not getting duped, perform a reverse image search by simply dragging and dropping an image into your web browser. This will show you all the websites that the image is featured on. Positive image searches will show the website in question as well as maybe a Facebook page and a Linkedin that matches the name and profession stated on the website. A search on a scam company will likely show the image used in a variety of places, as well as a completely different identity of the individual presented.
Too Good to be True?
A general rule of thumb to help you avoid scams is that if it seems too good to be true then it probably is! Bold claims such as a ‘100% pass rate guaranteed!’ are designed to catch your eye and promote impulse decisions, but when you stop think you’ll realize there’s no way to offer this. Prices that are suspiciously low or high should also be viewed with skepticism.
Investing in the right certification training programs is important! Following these steps will help ensure that the people you work with have your best interests at heart.