FAKE CAMBRIDGE EXAM PAPERS ON SALE

LONDON. Social media companies need to do more to “shut down” scammers selling fake GCSE and A-level papers to students.

TikTok and Instagram have said they do not allow the sale of exam papers on their platforms.

The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) has said “a very small number of students” have accessed some of its exam papers after they were shared online.

More than 150,000 students aged 16 to 19 study for the International Baccalaureates in 143 countries, including the UK.

But BBC News has found dozens of accounts falsely claiming to have access to this year’s exam papers, with some charging hundreds of pounds.

Students say the accounts are “very easy to find”, with one describing the posts as “psychologically manipulative”.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents the UK’s eight largest exam boards, says it is highly unlikely real papers are being leaked online.

England’s exam regulator Ofqual says if students try to cheat, they could lose the qualification they have been studying for, even if the papers they try to buy are fake.

Students at The Commonweal School in Swindon said the fraudulent accounts can be found with “a simple search”.

“They’re everywhere,” said Oscar. “I found them very easily on TikTok.”

Shreya described the accounts she has seen on Instagram as “psychologically manipulative” for students who might be duped into paying.

“The kind of language they use is all very positive,” she said.

“It’s so misleading for people who are so stressed. It’s messing with them.”

Teams of analysts at exam boards scour social media sites to look for scammers and report any fraudulent accounts.

But they can only report the incidents in the same way as any other social media user.

Some of the scam accounts often remain active for several days after they have been reported.

The JCQ wants exam boards to be granted direct access to the social media site’s enforcement teams to shut the accounts down more quickly and stop students being “conned”.

A spokesperson for Meta, Instagram’s parent company, has said it does not allow exams or answer sheets to be sold on its platform and removes any accounts that are flagged.

TikTok has said it removes any content that tries to defraud or scam members and urged users to report any accounts claiming to sell exam papers. – BBC

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