Are you fooled into convinced that the University of Devonshire existed? How would you like to own a qualification in the University of Wexford? Or does graduating from the University of Palmers Green appeal?
They were all trading names of the buy fake diploma, setup with websites giving the impression of these were licensed universities. Thankfully, these fake institutions have got all long since been turn off, though the qualifications they issued might still remain in use.
And that is only the tip of iceberg, because new fake universities appear on a regular basis. The procedure to create an imitation university could be easy – a convincing domain name with the educational website installed from a template need to do it. And also the addition of relevant text, sometimes plagiarised right from a real university website, the deception is finished.
Recently, greater than 40 websites awarding fraudulent and worthless degrees to UK students were closed down as an element of an increased education crackdown. The websites allowed those desperate enough, to fork out money to get a fake certificate, which may state that they had achieved anything as much as doctorate level qualifications.
Most of the websites shut down by the Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck used names near the ones from real universities – for example the supposed “Stafford University”. This seemingly operated on the laurels from the legitimate Staffordshire University.
During my 10 years working in academic integrity research, I’ve come across many methods students use to claim qualifications they don’t deserve. My work on contract cheating, where students pay others to perform their assessments, revealed a network of students looking to formulate their degree one fake assignment at any given time. Investing in a whole qualification outright surpasses this, circumventing any chance that students have of learning.
Fake universities and diploma mills operate with different amounts of subtlety and sophistication. Some fake universities claim to be able to issue awards based on “life experience”. For the fee, they permit customers to demonstrate that they’ve already gained the relevant skills essential for a qualification – plus they issue a certificate to prove this.
Other fake universities set their internet site up to look like a real university. Some issue assignments to students. The assignments may not be marked, but tend to fool people into thinking they were taking a legitimate course. Many fake universities dispense with pretence and merely ask for payment for an award.
But a more elaborate business model utilized by a small number of fake universities also has emerged. These offer subscriptions where they keep up the pretence that the fake qualifications are legitimate. They also have been found to supply services to confirm that qualifications they awarded exist, together with fake job references.
It’s also possible to get a fake degree certificate for the real university. This certificate often looks identical to the real thing. Fraudsters with use of top quality 12dexppky equipment can produce those to order. They could even range from the elaborate seals and holograms located on the real documents.
Some sites state that these certificates are just “novelty items”, however, there is no text about the purchased certificates to suggest such a thing. And it is entirely possible that people with desktop publishing skills and access to templates or photographs of real degree certificates to knock up their own personal convincing fake versions.
With employability the main thing on many universities, this is the link using the commercial world where the danger of fake degrees must be keenly considered. Once an employer is taking on the graduate worker who cannot deliver, they are going to not wish to engage using that university in the future. Fake degrees bring with them a clear chance of injury to university reputation.
Being a sector, we need to do more to combat fake universities and fake degrees. The important work undertaken by the Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck is a superb start, but awareness must go further. Every university needs to know about the imposters trading on its name, and also the sites offering fake qualifications claiming to get from that university.
Employers too need to shoulder some responsibility when recruiting staff. They ought to not just take every candidate and each document at face value. UK universities give you a service where qualifications might be verified. Some offer this verification directly. Other universities refer employers for the Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck or similar services which have been set up for this reason.