TOEFL, IELTS: Students taken for a ride in Hyderabad

At least 40 youth have approached police since last week after they were cheated by gangs of fraudsters

By Author  |  Published: 13th Jun 2018  12:25 am

Hyderabad: Cashing in on the foreign education dreams of students from the city, gangs are now targeting those preparing for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examinations.

In the last one week, at least 40 students approached the city police after they were cheated by such gangs. They had collected money from the students after promising them the ‘key’ paper for the exams. However, they hid the fact that the keys could be changed in the last minute, and that the keys sold to the students, at Rs 1.5 lakh each, were not the final ones.

The Central Zone Task Force recently nabbed an engineering graduate who was cheating students in similar fashion. He was procuring the key paper from sources in North India and selling them to students here for Rs 1.5 lakh each. He had made around Rs 50 lakh this way.

TOEFL and IELTS are standardised tests to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English-speaking universities abroad. These are the two most widely accepted English-language tests across the globe.

With many students from the State aiming at higher education abroad, fraudsters have begun cashing in on their attempts to clear these tests. Police said they were meeting candidates in hotels to hand over the keys. “Fraudsters in the city have links with similar gangs in North India who procure these question papers. Just about 12 hours before the exam, these candidates are called to hotels where the key is handed over to them,” a Task Force official said adding that they have to prepare within the limited time.

These tests have four parts focused on various language abilities. Officials said that most of the candidates who approach these fraudsters were those who were weak in English language.

However, they lose their money when the keys are changed in the last minute and they fail to clear the exams. The gangs offer to help them in the next chance, and there have been instances of students who thus managed to clear the tests, police said.

Task Force officials found out that in the recent case, about 50 candidates were helped. They cleared the exams and have joined various institutions here and abroad.

The nexus between these gangs and the institutions that conduct the tests is also being probed. “We suspect these fraudsters have links with the institutions or their staff or with the printing presses. If no insider is involved, it is not that easy to get the keys,” police said, adding that students should desist from trying for success through such illegal ways or fall prey to such fraudsters.