Fake online university impersonates UNO, scams students

Claiming to be an accredited virtual school, the fake University of New Orleans has been running scams since last year.


Even with a master’s degree in biotechnology, Shermeen Masood, a 34-year-old living in Oman, struggled for years to find a job. With a baby on the way and an out-of-country move ahead of her, she thought a doctorate would set her apart and help her get hired.

When an online school called City University of New Orleans told her she had been awarded a scholarship to attend its virtual doctorate program — which it said was part of the University of New Orleans — she was overjoyed. After a phone call with someone who claimed to be performing a background check on behalf of Oman’s embassy in Washington, she gladly paid what the university told her was a greatly reduced fee: $1,750.

But despite make that payment and several more, Masood never got to take a class. She realizes she’s been had.

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