Sitting here, thinking about it, I don’t actually know where my buy diploma certificate is, and that is a cause for concern for just two reasons. First: that we am somehow absent-minded enough to function towards something for the best a part of 3 years, only to lose it. And secondly, that I’ve never actually needed it. Every job I’ve had since graduating – that is admittedly only this and cleaning toilets in a museum – I’ve got without ever having to show anybody the evidence of my qualification.
About this evidence, there was clearly very little part of me having studied from the beginning. I might as well have just spent a couple of quid online and bought myself an imitation degree. Saved myself the funds, the tears, the endless bottles of Iceland’s Lambrucini.
Because: people actually do this. Tons of individuals are buying fake degrees from fake universities. The web is stuffed with them. Data dropped this week via HEDD (Higher Education Degree Datacheck) revealing that more than 30 fake universities have been shut down previously year. With some posing as actual institutions, others purporting to get online-based open learning programmes, the world wide web has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, and there are concerns the catch is going to get worse.
But exactly how easy will it be? Can One actually get yourself a degree online? The amount of universities out there are also real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume inside my graduation photo? Did I even visit university?
To resolve some of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, for more information concerning the bullshit universities around. “Well, it’s been a concealed problem,” says Jayne. “It was actually only really with setting up the HEDD service four to five in the past that there’s been in any manner of building up a national picture of degree fraud.”
HEDD is actually a government-funded operation first positioned in 2008, as central verification service for UK degrees – before that, when you desired to check somebody’s degree was legit you had to make it happen throughout the university themselves, which put a great deal of employers off. “Since we went live we’ve done over 160,000 verification checks,” Jayne adds. “That has obviously thrown up a number of fake certificates, fake websites and queries about bogus universities.”
Based on Jayne, fake universities can be found in great shape. “You’ve got straightforward bogus operations, where there is no university – they’re just establishing a website to look like a UK university. Those really are to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re obtaining a UK university, or to make people think they can be studying on a distance education course online, when they’re not. Those reel in innocent victims.”
Some “fake students”, however, are below innocent. The most significant problems fake universities present are people buying fraudulent qualifications to be able to deceive employers. “There are actually the websites that happen to be purely established to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “A really common thing is for people with fake certificates to state, ‘Oh, you can check my certificate about the university website. Then you definitely go the site – University of Wolverhamton without having the ‘p’ had been a popular one – enter in the particulars on the certificate, as well as a message returns saying, ‘This person is a bonafide graduate.'”
So far as Jayne sees it, it is a real and growing trend. “In March this coming year, the danger Advisory Group published a report which screened 500 CVs and discovered major discrepancies with 70 percent of these,” she says, “and of all discrepancies, 28 percent had difficulties with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on his or her CVs being a criminal offence, however it is.”
This reminded me of the websites that did the rounds when I was at sixth form where you could buy “novelty” ID cards that let you squeeze from the doors of nightclubs. Surely acquiring a degree wouldn’t be so simple?
Well yeah, actually. It took me four seconds to land on Instant Degrees, an internet site that gives courses which range from Afrikaans to accounting, and all you have to do is fill in a form. Above is my application for a degree in feminism – a degree I obtained with the tender ages of seven.
Jayne describes Instant Degrees being a website just selling fake certificates and “not even bothering to pretend these are a university”. In spite of this, they can be very keen to stress how totally legal everything they feature is. Within their words: “This is a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent people that understand the value of having the capacity to instantly convert their existing knowledge in to a degree, quickly and legally.” Which is actually a nice way of considering it. It type of validates your dad’s mate Roger that is constantly banging on about how precisely degrees are a waste of time and how he learnt everything he knows from “the University of Life”.
Further within the bullshit scale is Canterbury University. Their homepage is above. Now, you may think you’ve heard about Canterbury University. You haven’t; you’ve heard about Canterbury Christ Church University. Canterbury University is, Jayne tells me, just about the most blatant offenders still online. It even includes a page where degree holders can go into the code on the rear of their certificate to be able to “verify” their degree. But as Jayne points out, it is easy to debunk the university’s existence. “Google street view will be your friend when tracking down bogus institutions,” she tells me. Which dexqpky12 sense when you take a look at a street look at Canterbury University’s supposed address.
That’s right. Ol’ Canterbury University. Nestled neatly between “Top Dogz” and “Ph Signs”. Where dreams are created.
But when completing the applying forms on the fake uni website seems too taxing, there’s an even easier method that’s been right under our noses this all time: eBay.
Jayne has put this process on the test herself. “We bought some from the guy who has been offering fake certificates for £6.95 with nectar points,” she explains. “They claim ‘this is made for novelty purposes’, but they’re unacceptable to publish certificates that have university trademarks to them; they may be still in breach of copyright. Therefore we bought some, one is in rocket science. The certificates came and so they had holograms, signatures, but usefully the eBay seller had sent them in an envelope by using a return name and address around the back, therefore we handed them onto trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming just like an increasingly unrealistic prospect these days, so it’s not surprising individuals are searching for alternatives, especially since the grants system in the UK has been specifically scrapped. Sadly, however, the field of fake universities is really as treacherous as real ones. It might seem you’re getting started with an absolutely legitimate Science of Feminism masters with the University of Bedford, only to find yourself the most recent victim in long-line played from the most academic hustlers inside the game. Either that, or you’re a hustler yourself, looking to blag the right path onto a grad-scheme with a make believe fake degree certificate malaysia you purchased on eBay. If that’s the way it is, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.