International students are being targeted on social media by young women offering to write assignments in return for cash.
In order to lure overseas students, some essay mill companies are using young women to forge a friendly bond through Facebook and WhatsApp.
Once the request is accepted, the women offer to write students’ assignments in exchange for money.
This unique method of direct marketing is new and, since it is done with the help of social media, it is mostly unregulated.
An international student at Nottingham Trent University, on condition of anonymity, said: “I not only get friend requests on Facebook but also messages on WhatsApp. It is quite unnerving cause this definitely shows how my privacy is affected. I don’t know how they even got my number!”
The WhatsApp message reads:
Investigating this trend, when CBJ star reporter poked one such ‘friend’ on Facebook, she immediately responded with details of her company highlighting how efficient they are at producing first class marks.
Dipti Hak of firstname.lastname@example.org said: “We are a team of professional academic writers based in India. We have been helping students with their assignments and dissertations for the last six years. We provide you with quality work with plagiarism below 5% and in which you can score between 60-80%. Students score up to 80% in our work.”
Hak shared details of students who have used their services to get high scores.
These essay mills generally charge on the basis of word count, which varies from £40 to £50 per 1000 words.
The process is simple. One has to send the topic of the essay, the deadline, word count and payment and in 10 to 15 days the assignment is emailed to you.
International students are easy prey to such services since English is not their native language, they are still grappling to find a foothold in the new country and many are not familiar with the education system of the UK.
A spokesperson for Nottingham Trent University said: “We support students in developing study skills and understanding the requirements for assessments and examinations. We are clear with them on what constitutes cheating and plagiarism, and the penalties for doing so. We use plagiarism software and advise students that using essay mill services could be constituted as cheating and /or plagiarism.”
When approached for a comment Help4assignment did not respond and the representative later blocked the reporter on Facebook.
By Nabanita Das