Are you fooled into convinced that the University of Devonshire existed? How do you wish to own a qualification from the University of Wexford? Or does graduating through the University of Palmers Green appeal?
These were all trading names from the buy fake diploma, set up with websites giving the impression of these were licensed universities. Thankfully, these fake institutions supply long since been shut down, though the qualifications they issued may still remain in use.
Which is only the tip of iceberg, because new fake universities appear at all times. The procedure to put together a fake university might be easy – a convincing domain name with an educational website installed from your template must do it. And with the addition of relevant text, sometimes plagiarised directly from a genuine university website, the deception is done.
Recently, greater than 40 websites awarding fraudulent and worthless degrees to UK students were closed down within an increased education crackdown. The websites allowed those desperate enough, to fork out money for a fake certificate, which could state they had achieved anything as much as doctorate level qualifications.
Most of the websites turn off by the Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck used names near to those of real universities – for example the supposed “Stafford University”. This seemingly operated in the laurels of the legitimate Staffordshire University.
During my 15 years employed in academic integrity research, I’ve find many methods students use to assert qualifications they don’t deserve. My focus on contract cheating, where students pay others to finish their assessments, revealed a network of students looking to develop their degree one fake assignment at the same time. Purchasing a whole qualification outright goes beyond this, circumventing any chance that students have of learning.
Fake universities and diploma mills operate with some other amounts of subtlety and sophistication. Some fake universities claim to be able to issue awards according to “life experience”. For the fee, they allow people to demonstrate that they’ve already gained the skills needed for a qualification – plus they issue a certificate to prove this.
Other fake universities set their website up to look like a real university. Some issue assignments to students. The assignments may do not be marked, but tend to fool people into thinking these folks were taking a legitimate course. Many fake universities dispense with pretence and simply demand payment for the award.
But a far more elaborate enterprise model utilized by a small number of fake universities has emerged. These offer subscriptions where they keep up to date the pretence that the fake qualifications are legitimate. They have also been found to offer you services to verify that qualifications they awarded exist, combined with fake job references.
It’s also possible to purchase a fake degree certificate to get a real university. This certificate often looks just like the real thing. Fraudsters with usage of good quality 12dexppky equipment can produce those to order. They are able to even add the elaborate seals and holograms found on the real documents.
Some sites report that these certificates are only “novelty items”, but there is no text about the purchased certificates to suggest this. Which is easy for people with desktop publishing skills and usage of templates or photographs of real degree certificates to knock up their very own convincing fake versions.
With employability the main thing on many universities, this is basically the link together with the commercial world where the possibility of fake degrees needs to be keenly considered. Once a business has taken with a graduate worker who cannot deliver, they may not desire to engage with that university in the future. Fake degrees bring with them a definite probability of problems for university reputation.
Being a sector, we need to do more to combat fake universities and fake degrees. The most important work undertaken from the Higher Education Degree Datacheck is an excellent start, but awareness should go further. Every university needs to understand about the imposters trading on its name, along with the sites offering fake qualifications claiming to get from that university.
Employers too should shoulder some responsibility when recruiting staff. They should not just take every candidate and each and every document at face value. UK universities provide a service where qualifications might be verified. Some offer this verification directly. Other universities refer employers towards the Higher Education Degree Datacheck or similar services that were create for this purpose.