You may have seen these weird ads floating around on social media. Aesthetically, the ads can range from janky to professional in appearance. But make no mistake, these operations are trying to con students into purchasing dodgy (and often illegal) ‘services’ with the false promise of helping with assignments or exams.
It’s called contract cheating, and there are a bunch of reasons why you don’t want to do it.
What are the risks with these ‘services’?
Contract cheating services are illegal in Australia, and operators face fines of up to $100,000 or two-year’s imprisonment if caught. This makes the services shady by necessity. They usually operate off-shore, and make themselves untraceable in case the authorities get onto them. Because of this, you can’t trust the operator to provide a legit service or handle your personal information safely.
Aside from giving you poor quality work (which won’t pass Turnitin), it’s also likely that the contract cheating operator will:
- Sell your personal information e.g. your email address, and any other identifying data, to other shady operators to use for spam, account hacking or identity theft.
- Use your student details for blackmail purposes, like threatening to report you to the University for cheating unless you pay them more money.
- Provide you with work that’s already been submitted elsewhere, even if they claim ‘plagiarism free’ (Turnitin will find it).
All of the above comes with a high chance of getting caught for cheating, resulting in penalties that can include failing the subject or expulsion – see Penalties for academic misconduct.
Some contract cheating operators have also been known to hire students to promote the ‘service’ to their classmates. Don’t get involved in this. You would become part of the contract cheating operation, and you could face fines or imprisonment if caught – see TEQSA: Advice for students: Employment offers from online study platforms.
Which services should you use for academic help?
You never have to pay for academic support at La Trobe. Our Learning Hub provides a range of free services to help you succeed in your studies – including meeting with peer learning advisors (PLAs) for individual tips and strategies. Be suspicious of any paid academic help service which claims to be affiliated with La Trobe. If in doubt, ask your lecturer or tutor to confirm if a service is actually connected to your course.
Aside from the learning hub, you can also get help or advice by:
- Asking your lecturer to clarify the expectations of the assessment.
- Telling your lecturer if there are special circumstances (e.g. illness or caring responsibilities) that are making it difficult for you to submit on time. In certain circumstances, you may consider applying for special consideration.
- Access Studiosity for online study support and assignment feedback.
- Connect with our Health and Wellbeing services if you need additional support.
All these services are free, and will provide advice and support to help you meet your academic goals without resorting to cheating and risking the consequences.