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Honor Society Foundation Scam: Protect Yourself From Imposters

You may think you're being invited to an honor society, but you could be the target of a nationwide scam aimed at students.


Verified.org
Updated 13 September 2021
Honor Society Foundation Scam: Protect Yourself From Imposters
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Phishing Statistics 2021


90% of data breaches are caused by phishing
3.4 billion phishing emails are sent every day

1.4 million phishing websites are created every month

Source: Digital InTheRound, 2021

Sections on this page
  1. What are Honor Society Foundation Scam Emails?
  2. How to Beat Honors Society Foundation Scams
  3. Red Flags of Honor Society Foundation Scams
  4. Honor Society Foundation Scam Examples
  5. Fallen for this Scam?
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

Protect yourself from Honor Society Foundation scams by looking for red flags of fraud within the email itself. Always check the sender's address to make sure it's a legitimate Honor Society Foundation email, check the URL of any website linked to from the email to verify it's legit, and look for spelling and grammatical errors.

What are Honor Society Foundation Scam Emails?

In this Honor Society Foundation scam, you’ll receive an email that appears to come from the Honor Society Foundation, a well-known and legitimate organization that recognizes high-achieving students. For example, you might be invited to join the honor society because of your academic achievement. The email will explain the benefits of joining the honor society, including establishing networking connections, connecting you to leadership opportunities, and earning scholarships.

As exciting as these opportunities might sound, these emails can often be fake leading users to websites set up to steal their personal and financial information. Here’s how this scam works.

You Receive an Email that Looks Like It’s From the Honor Society Foundation

You will receive an email that appears as though it’s coming from the Honor Society Foundation. The email could have a few possible intentions, including inviting you to join the society. Or the email might state that your account has been hacked and you need to reset your profile.

Example Fake Honor Society Foundation Email

Congratulations! You are invited to join the Honor Society member society. Accepting this distinction connect you with like-minded high achievers from universities across the nation. We help connect you with leaders from high profile universities and employers across the nation. 

Honor Society is the preeminent organization dedicated to recognition of academic and professional services. Our society empowers members to achieve through scholarship, recognition, exclusive privileges, job to date, and builds a framework for future success.

Another possibility is that you’ll be asked to update your profile. The message will typically include a link for you to provide the requested information.

You Click on the Link Provided

When you click the link, you will be directed to a fake Honor Society Foundation website. The website may include a similar design and logo to that of the Honor Society Foundation.

You Enter Your Information

You will be asked to enter your personal and financial details on the fake Honor Society Foundation website. This may include your:

  • Credit card information
  • Billing address
  • Bank account number

You may also have to enter your Honor Society Foundation account information if you are already an existing member.

Your Information is Compromised

Now that you have entered your information into an Honor Society Foundation scam website, scammers have gained access to your sensitive personal and financial information. They can use this information to make fraudulent charges to your credit card or bank accounts and access your other online accounts.

How to Beat Honors Society Foundation Scams

Scammers who send Honor Society Foundation scam emails are well aware they’re preying on the vulnerable student population. Avoid the dangers of Honor Society Foundation scam emails by following these best practices.

Don’t Share Sensitive Information

No reputable organization will ask you to share your personal and financial information via email. Even if the request seems reasonable, you should avoid clicking the link provided and sharing any sensitive information.

Double-Check the Domain Name

If the sender is indeed the Honor Society Foundation, the sender’s email address will end in “honorsociety.org.” Fake senders might add in extra numbers or letters to the correct name, or create handles that trick you into believing they’re part of the legitimate organization. For instance, the sender might be labeled simply “Honor Society,” but you will be able to determine the actual address by hovering your mouse over the name.

Hover Over Links Before Clicking

Always hover your mouse over the links provided in the email. If, for example, the link invites you to click to join the honor society or learn more, make sure the link embedded in the text will take you to an application or sign-up page. If the link appears suspicious, with letters or numbers that don’t make sense, don’t click it.

Red Flags of Honor Society Foundation Scams

Scammers are always updating their techniques to make their emails look as professional as possible. However, these red flags can tip you off that what seems like an Honor Society Foundation email is a scam.

Requests for Sensitive Information

Scam emails may ask you to provide sensitive information and provide a link or attachment for you to do so. The message may pressure you to provide this information so you don’t risk losing access to your account.

Poor Grammar and Spelling

Fake Honor Society Foundation scam emails won’t include the polished and professional prose you’d expect from a scholarly organization. When you read the text, you’ll find typos and strange, awkward phrasing.

Generic Greetings

A classic red flag is an email that doesn’t greet you by name. The email will open with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Valued Member.”

Immediate Redirect to a Different Website

As soon as you open the email, and before you even click on any links, your browser immediately redirects to another website. That’s another sign you’re dealing with an impostor organization, not the real deal.

Threatening or Urgent Tone

You’ll know an email is fake if the tone of the email is threatening or creates a sense of urgency about a problem. For instance, the email might state that you’ll lose access to your account if you don’t update your password. If there was a real problem with your account, a legitimate sender wouldn’t make strange threats.

Strange Domain Names

The email sender will be from an organization that doesn’t end in “honorsociety.org.” A scammer may have added letters or numbers to the legitimate domain name – which you may not notice if you’re reading quickly.

Fake Logos

The scammer may have tried to replicate the Honor Society Foundation’s logo. Open the Honor Society Foundation website in a separate browser to compare the two logos. You’ll usually be able to spot discrepancies between the images if the email originated from a scammer.

Attachments

A typical Honor Society Foundation email wouldn’t include attachments unless you were expecting it to. An email with an attachment is typically a warning sign of a phishing scam.

Honor Society Foundation Scam Examples

Honor Society Foundation scam emails might look similar to a legitimate message from the organization. That’s why it can be so easy to fall victim to this scam.

Here’s what a real Honor Society Foundation email would look like. You’ll notice that the email is free of typos and clearly explains its mission and benefits, as well as the featured privileges extended to members. As long as you check the sender and hover over the link to verify it leads to the actual organization, you would be safe clicking on this link.

Genuine Honor Society Foundation email
(Source: Reddit.com)

Honor Society Foundation emails tend to follow this template, so if you receive one with different content, it’s best to follow up with the organization to make sure the email indeed originated from them.  

Phishing emails tend to follow a pattern regardless of the company or organization they’re impersonating. In this example of a phishing scam email, the message uses incorrect grammar and strange phrasing and alerts the user of an urgent situation demanding their attention. The email then directs the user to click on an attachment. (Note that this is not an Honor Society Foundation email, but a scam email from that organization should follow a similar pattern.)

Example phishing email
(Source: Apple Support Communities)

Fallen for this Scam?

If you’ve fallen for an Honor Society Foundation scam email, it’s important to act quickly to protect your identity and financial information.

Contact Your Financial Institution and Credit Card Company

If you’ve entered any sensitive financial information, contact your bank or credit card company to let them know that a scammer may have access to your account. You may need to cancel your cards and request new ones.

Get in Touch with the Honor Society Foundation

The Honor Society Foundation is aware of the dangers of impostor honor society emails. The organization can help determine whether an email you received is real or fake. You can contact them online

Report the Scam to the Authorities

You can also report phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC works to build public awareness of similar scams to prevent other people from becoming victims. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) also handles Internet-related scam complaints.

Update Your Passwords

If you shared any of the passwords you regularly use with a scammer, change those passwords now. Try to use different passwords for each of your accounts, and use a password manager if you have trouble remembering them.

Watch for Suspicious Activity

Over the next few weeks or months, monitor your online accounts for signs of suspicious activity. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report regularly to make sure that a scammer hasn’t caused any damage to your credit. 

Is the Honor Society Foundation A Scam?

Recently, some academic institutions have spoken out about the deceptive nature of honor societies, such as the Honor Society Foundation, which requires their members to pay a fee to join. These colleges encourage their students to join honor societies affiliated with their colleges that do not charge a membership fee.

Although the Honor Society Foundation does charge a fee, it is not a scam. It is actually a legitimate, non-profit organization that aims to foster its members’ professional development while providing leadership and volunteer opportunities and scholarships to the highest-achieving members. It currently holds an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

If you receive an email inviting you to the Honor Society Foundation, it may well be a real invitation. Just make sure the email does not include any of the red flags covered above. If in doubt, contact the Honor Society Foundation to verify the email’s legitimacy. If you’re interested in joining, research the benefits thoroughly as well as the fees, so you know whether it’s worth the investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are honor societies scams?

There are legitimate honor societies that connect you with scholarships, colleges, and other professional development opportunities. Unfortunately, there are some fake societies that are designed to steal your personal information and money. Some societies charge membership fees, while others don't. The fee itself isn't a sure-fire sign of a scam, but you might want to look for other societies associated with an actual college that don't charge a fee.

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