An overseas Nottingham Trent University student was bombarded with 14 female friend requests from essay mill companies in eight months.
Sanket Jagtap, 22, initially added the women thinking they were fellow students.
But the Facebook ‘friends’ would later offer the construction management student help with his assignments in return for cash.
Sanket, who is from Pune, India, said: “They would send me an FB friend request and it showed in the their profile that they were students at NTU or at any other UK university. So, I would add them.
“At first they communicate as friends, but after sometime, they reveal that they are willing to help me in writing my essays and dissertations.”
And when Sanket refused to take help, the representatives tried to lure him with discounted rates, provided he would recommend other students.
14 requests that Sanket received from essay mill representatives
“One of them sent me a detailed rate for essay writing and when I declined, she said she will offer discount if I ask my friends to use their services.”
Essay mills companies are a growing nuisance in the higher education sector in the UK now with the presence of social media, the representatives are using direct marketing techniques to reach students.
International students are generally their target audience since it is easy for an overseas student, who is grappling in a foreign land, to succumb to such temptations.
After eight such messages, Sanket can now recognised such friend requests and has stopped accepting them.
When contacted, a spokesperson for Nottingham Trent University said: “We support students in developing study skills and understanding the requirements for assessments and examinations. We are clear with them on what constitutes cheating and plagiarism, and the penalties for doing so. We use plagiarism software and advise students that using essay mill services could be constituted as cheating and /or plagiarism.”