Will you be fooled into thinking that the University of Devonshire existed? How do you wish to own a qualification through the University of Wexford? Or does graduating from your University of Palmers Green appeal?
They were all trading names of your fake university diploma, create with websites giving the impression of they were licensed universities. Thankfully, these fake institutions have all long since been turn off, even though the qualifications they issued may still remain in use.
And this is only the tip of iceberg, because new fake universities appear on a regular basis. The procedure to create an imitation university may be easy – a convincing domain name having an educational website installed coming from a template need to do it. With the addition of relevant text, sometimes plagiarised directly from a true university website, the deception is done.
Recently, over 40 websites awarding fraudulent and worthless degrees to UK students were closed down included in a higher education crackdown. The websites allowed those desperate enough, to fork out money to get a fake certificate, which may state they had achieved anything up to doctorate level qualifications.
Many of the websites de-activate with the Higher Education Degree Datacheck used names in close proximity to the ones from real universities – for example the supposed “Stafford University”. This seemingly operated on the laurels of the legitimate Staffordshire University.
During my 15 years doing work in academic integrity research, I’ve find many methods students use to claim qualifications they don’t deserve. My work on contract cheating, where students pay others to accomplish their assessments, revealed a network of students looking to build up their degree one fake assignment at a time. Getting a whole qualification outright goes past this, circumventing any chance that students have of learning.
Fake universities and diploma mills operate with different amounts of subtlety and class. Some fake universities claim to be able to issue awards according to “life experience”. For the fee, they enable individuals to demonstrate that they’ve already gained the relevant skills needed for a qualification – and they also 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 not be marked, but tend to fool people into thinking these people were getting a legitimate course. Many fake universities dispense with pretence and just request payment for the award.
But a far more elaborate business structure used by a small band of fake universities has also emerged. These offer subscriptions where they maintain the pretence that their fake qualifications are legitimate. They have also been found to offer you services to make sure that that qualifications they awarded exist, combined with fake job references.
It’s also possible to invest in a fake degree certificate for any real university. This certificate often looks just like the genuine article. Fraudsters with access to premium quality 12dexppky equipment can produce these to order. They could even are the elaborate seals and holograms located on the real documents.
Some sites declare that these certificates are just “novelty items”, however, there is no text on the purchased certificates to suggest this. In fact it is feasible for 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 at the forefront of many universities, it is the link together with the commercial world where the possibility of fake degrees needs to be keenly considered. Once a business has gotten over a graduate worker who cannot deliver, they will likely not wish to engage with the university later on. Fake degrees bring together a precise risk of problems for university reputation.
Being a sector, we have to do more to combat fake universities and fake degrees. The important work undertaken with 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, and also the sites offering fake qualifications claiming to get from that university.
Employers too have to shoulder some responsibility when recruiting staff. They must not merely take every candidate and each document at face value. UK universities give a service where qualifications could be verified. Some offer this verification directly. Other universities refer employers for the Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck or similar services which were create for this specific purpose.