A US firm is targeting first-year university students by infiltrating their private WhatsApp groups and offering to write essays for £7 a page, the Guardian can reveal.
The firm and a series of anonymous individuals are offering made-to-order essays and have been hijacking new students’ group chats at at least five universities, including four prestigious Russell Group institutions.
The messages, posted on accommodation and course group chats created to help freshers settle into university life, boast that students can “pay after delivery”.
Academics said the practice is extremely concerning. One professor called the tactics employed by essay mills to market to students “abhorrent”.
The findings come as universities and government ministers have expressed concern about the growth of essay mills, which offer pieces of academic work to order for a fee. They are nearly impossible to detect through anti-plagiarism software.