Chegg has taken the educational technology sector by storm, growing from humble beginnings but then being inspired by Netflix to become one of the biggest educational websites on the internet. But is Chegg safe and what are tips for using it?
Chegg is safe to use as it is a public company under United States law that doesn’t provide user information to 3rd parties. As the service is often banned by schools, you can try accessing it via a different internet connection and don’t copy answers.
Let’s look at Chegg and its history, consider whether it is safe or legal to use, how best to use it and what the concerns are about privacy, user information and legal liability. We’ll also consider best practices and how to be safe while using Chegg.
Is Chegg Safe to Use?
Chegg is safe to use from an information security standpoint. They are a professional, public company registered on the United States stock exchange with headquarters in Santa Clara, United States. 
Starting out as a textbook rental company for college students, Chegg has grown from the humble business started by Aayush Phumbhra and Osman Rashid to a massive website offering homework help, exam preparation and writing support.
They don’t have any massive data breach or information selling black marks, and ostensibly take their obligations very seriously, particularly via enforcing their Honor Code and making sure that students are not using their service to cheat.
Chegg sees themselves as an academic and educational support website, not an essay writing service or doing your homework for you.
Is Chegg Legal?
Chegg is legal to use as the difference between whether something is legal or illegal is whether using it is a criminal offense or you are liable for a civil claim.
In the end, they are offering a textbook rental service and then questions and answers as well as personalized coaching to help with coursework.
The textbook rental service has seen them get into some legal issues with a major textbook publisher but any issues with this won’t impact legally as an end-user, although it may cause the textbook hiring arm of the business to shut down. 
The other side of the business, involving providing a massive database of worked examples, exam questions and homework help as well as writing help, is also not against the law as it is not breaking any laws at the state or federal level, at least in the United States.
Where you could come into trouble is by breaking an institution of learning’s specific code of conduct that either specifically prohibits any use of Chegg, or websites like it.
This may result in getting zero on a test, being kicked out of the course or institution, or other disciplinary measures, but the jump from that into criminal or civil liability would be hard to imagine, although you should of course consult a lawyer if you’re worried about it.
Can Chegg Give out Credit Card Information?
Chegg is a publicly traded company and is not going to give out credit card information by selling it on the blackmarket or other nefarious dealings.
Any actions like this such as fraud, information breaches, data security leaks or similar will land the company in severe legal trouble. This could only be compounded due to the possibility of state and federal laws being broken.
It also involves shareholders as Chegg is a public company, meaning the board, employees or anyone else involved could be facing a class action alongside many other legal avenues of attack.
During an Honor Code investigation, the time and date stamp of question posted as well as the time and date stamp of solution posted can be provided by Chegg once an official request is made by a school or educational institution.
This must be accompanied with an official letter of request on the affiliated school’s letterhead that has been signed by a Dean or Academic Integrity officer or similar.
What to Be Careful About When Using Chegg?
The main issue with using Chegg is that it may be considered cheating or plagiarism by whatever school or institution you are at.
That means if you get caught using it, it will be an automatic fail of the class you are in, or other escalating punishments.
To minimize the risk of this happening, don’t just copy and paste directly from Chegg; it’s better to try and use Chegg as a learning tool rather than a quick shortcut to have all your work completed for you.
Just because it contains all the answers or has ways of completing your homework for you, that doesn’t mean you should take advantage of that. While this may be useful in the short term, you are going to get found out.
This is particularly the case if you consistently get almost perfect marks for all assignments or homework, but then flunk out on the in-person test. Your teacher or professor will notice this immediately, and it will be more than enough evidence to brand you a cheater.
Another way you may get caught is if you just copy whole answers without going through them. The answers on Chegg may contain mistakes or errors, and so you should work through them all individually and input your own work.
Teachers have access to Chegg as well, so they may compare your answer to the ones on Chegg if they suspect something is off.
If multiple students all use Chegg and submit the same wrong answer, not only could you get done for cheating but also the collusion.
Does Chegg Expose Students?
It is not in Chegg’s interest to expose their students.
Schools or other learning institutions have no real sway or influence over Chegg, especially when compared to the legal obligations that Chegg must abide by in regards to its users.
If somehow a court order or other legal authority granted a search of Chegg’s database, this could result in user information being released but this is a very rare situation and would be limited to the person in question.
Teachers can request that Chegg do an investigation and some information about posted questions and answers will be provided, but the data is anonymized and no information such as IP addresses is provided. 
Such investigations may see the question or answer taken down, or the Chegg account terminated.
How to Use Chegg Without Getting Caught?
You can avoid getting caught by following some basic security protocols.
First is that if you’re on a school network, like a WiFi or other internet service that is monitored by the school, don’t access Chegg. These queries and web sessions can be monitored and logged.
An alternative is to use mobile data like a cell phone being tethered.
Secondly, don’t use Chegg without going through each answer or submitting work carefully. Typographical errors, weird reasoning or other clues will expose you and basically result in you being caught red-handed.
Take the time to put your own thoughts, ideas and legwork into any work you submit for assessment, as not only does it remove the chance of you getting caught with an obviously copied answer, but you will also be confronted with the material and do actual learning.
Chegg shouldn’t be seen as taking care of your schoolwork for you. It is a study tool that helps you in specific areas where you’re stuck, or provides advice on how to approach questions and problems.
Can You Use a VPN With Chegg?
A Virtual Private Network can help with obscuring your identity for Chegg. It shouldn’t be seen as a foolproof way to hide your identity, however.
Keep in mind that Chegg may suspect you of account sharing if they see random IPs from random locations, and they could terminate your account.
Chegg has already gone ahead and blocked many VPN services from accessing their service, due to the issues with enforcing their Honor Code and other terms of service.
The reality is that VPNs are not as good as their marketing suggests. VPNs are easy to identify and block, and law enforcement has gotten around them easily many times, let alone a company like Chegg which pays large sums to security experts.