Scammers on social media are charging students hundreds of pounds for fake ‘leaked’ GCSE and A-level exam papers,’ according to a BBC reports.
Though it is said to be extremely rare for exam papers to be leaked, the scams are reportedly becoming more common – with fraudsters allegedly charging up to £4,000 for a paper.
A 5-year-old student who spoke to the BBC said she first saw accounts claiming to sell GCSE exam papers on TikTok but was told to contact the seller on Instagram. She said she was quoted prices starting from £500.
Though she did not buy an exam paper, the anonymous student claims she knows others who have paid up to £900 for them. ‘The people who buy from these accounts are your most desperate students,’ she told the broadcaster.
‘These accounts are actually very clever and sneaky in what they do – preying on this vulnerability.
‘You wouldn’t meet a single student across this whole year that has not heard of these accounts. They are everywhere.’
BBC News posed as a GCSE student and messaged two Instagram accounts trying to scam people into buying ‘exam papers’ – one quoted £150. Both accounts asked for money to be sent through Cash App, but the payment app blocked the BBC’s £150 transaction during their investigation.
The broadcaster said after paying the sum, they were never sent any paper and the account was deleted.
Bill Hewison, a case analyst at exam board, AQA, said many scammers use doctored images of previous exams, changing the date and text on the front cover to try to dupe students.
A spokesperson for the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) described an attempt to obtain any confidential assessment material, whether real or fake, as ‘malpractice’ but legitimate leaks are rare – and fraudulent accounts on social media are a growing problem.
“If we do a search on Tuesday, we will see five accounts. If we do the same search on Wednesday, we will see 10 accounts,” Mr Hewison said.
“If you get one, they’ll just create another account.”
JCQ chief executive Margaret Farragher said it was like “digital whack-a-mole”. “As soon as they try to close down one of these fake accounts, another one opens up,” she added.
In 2019, exam board Edexcel apologised after part of an A-level maths paper was shared on social media the day before the exam.