It's Not an Honor to be Suckered

Contributing Editor Mary Tsao also blogs at Mom Writes.

After finding out the hard way that her teenage daughter had unwittingly given personal information to an organization that she thought was a school-endorsed national honor society, Doctor and mom TBTAM from The Blog That Ate Manhattan is using her blog to get the word out about the marketing scam known as the National Honor Roll.

She advises students and parents to be aware that the "National Honor Roll is NOT the same as the National Honor Society, a legitimate organization that recognizes academic excellence." After researching the National Honor Roll organization, TBTAM realized that it's nothing more than "a front for a nationwide mailing list of young high school students. A mailing list that the Honor Roll and its partner organizations then sell for profit..."

She explains how the scam organization uses devious tactics to obtain personal information from students, including her daughter:

"How does the National Honor Roll find out your child's name, address and personal information? Your child's school provides it. That's right. The school provides it, along with data mined from your child as part of in-class surveys handed out and collected by your child's teacher. In my daughter's case, she now remembers being asked to complete a survey in her Math class earlier this year. She was told it was for college.

I can't entirely blame my daughter's teacher (Well, I do blame him a bit). Most likely he thought that the survey results were being used to offer his students scholarships and college information. The surveys are sent to teachers from a "non-profit" organization called the Educational Reseach Center of America. ERCA is associated with something called the Student Marketing Group."

TBTAM encourages parents to forewarn their children about this scam and to suggest to them they take all handouts that request personal information home. TBTAM also encourages us to take our concerns to the PTA, the school principal, and to our children's teachers.

Children in school have an inherent trust of the system; it's unscrupulous to use that trust to mine for personal information to the profit of scam corporations and at the cost of our children's and our privacy.

Photo credit: Memphis City Schools

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