Sitting here, thinking about it, I don’t actually know where my buy a diploma is, which is a cause for concern for 2 reasons. First: that we am somehow absent-minded enough to operate towards something for the very best part of 36 months, merely 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 the museum – I’ve got without ever being forced to show anybody the proof of my qualification.
With this evidence, there is minimal point in me having studied from the beginning. I may also have just spent a few quid on the web and bought myself an imitation degree. Saved myself the amount of money, the tears, the endless bottles of Iceland’s Lambrucini.
Because: people actually do this. Loads of individuals are buying fake degrees from fake universities. The world wide web is loaded with them. Data dropped in the week via HEDD (Higher Education Degree Datacheck) revealing that more than 30 fake universities are already de-activate in the past year. With a bit of posing as actual institutions, others purporting to be online-based open learning programmes, the net has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, and then there are concerns the thing is going to get worse.
But just how easy could it be? May I actually get a degree online? The amount of universities out there are even real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume during my graduation photo? Did I even check out university?
To resolve some of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, to learn more concerning the bullshit universities on the market. “Well, it’s been a concealed problem,” says Jayne. “It absolutely was only really with setting up the HEDD service four to five years ago that there’s been in any manner of building up a national picture of degree fraud.”
HEDD can be a government-funded operation first placed in 2008, as central verification service for UK degrees – before that, when you desired to check somebody’s degree was legit you experienced to accomplish it through the university themselves, which put a lot of employers off. “Since we went live we’ve done over 160,000 verification checks,” Jayne adds. “Which contains obviously thrown up a variety of fake certificates, fake websites and queries about bogus universities.”
Based on Jayne, fake universities are available in great shape. “You’ve got straightforward bogus operations, where there is absolutely no university – they’re just setting up a website to resemble a UK university. Those are actually to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re looking for a UK university, or make people think they may be studying on a distance learning course online, when they’re not. Those reel in innocent victims.”
Some “fake students”, however, are less than innocent. The most significant problems fake universities present are people buying fraudulent qualifications as a way to deceive employers. “There are the websites which are purely set up to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “An incredibly common thing is for people who have fake certificates to say, ‘Oh, you can examine my certificate on the university website. Then you go the web site – University of Wolverhamton without having the ‘p’ was actually a popular one – enter in the particulars on the certificate, as well as a message comes back saying, ‘This person is a bonafide graduate.'”
With regards to Jayne sees it, this is a real and growing trend. “In March this coming year, the Risk Advisory Group published a study which screened 500 CVs and found major discrepancies with 70 % of those,” she says, “and of all discrepancies, 28 percent had issues with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on his or her CVs as being a criminal offence, but it is.”
This reminded me of your websites that did the rounds as i was at sixth form where you could buy “novelty” ID cards that allow you to squeeze throughout the doors of nightclubs. Surely obtaining a degree wouldn’t be so easy?
Well yeah, actually. It took me four seconds to land on Instant Degrees, a web site that gives courses including Afrikaans to accounting, and all you have to do is fill out a form. Above is my application for any degree in feminism – a degree I obtained at the tender chronilogical age of seven.
Jayne describes Instant Degrees being a website just selling fake certificates and “not even bothering to pretend they can be a university”. Despite this, they are 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 individuals who understand value of being able to instantly convert their existing knowledge right into a degree, quickly and legally.” That is a nice method of looking at it. It type of validates your dad’s mate Roger who seems to be constantly banging on about how degrees are a complete waste of time and how he learnt everything they know from “the University of Life”.
Further up the bullshit scale is Canterbury University. Their homepage is above. Now, you may think you’ve read about Canterbury University. You haven’t; you’ve read about Canterbury Christ Church University. Canterbury University is, Jayne tells me, one of the more blatant offenders still online. It even includes a page where degree holders can go into the code on the back of their certificate so that you can “verify” their degree. But as Jayne indicates, it is actually not too difficult to debunk the university’s existence. “Google street view can be your friend when tracking down bogus institutions,” she tells me. Which dexqpky12 sense if you 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 made.
But if filling in the application forms on the fake uni website seems too taxing, there’s an even easier method that’s been right under our noses this time: eBay.
Jayne has put this technique towards the test herself. “We bought some from a guy who had been offering fake certificates for £6.95 with nectar points,” she explains. “They are saying ‘this is made for novelty purposes’, but they’re banned to publish certificates which have university trademarks upon them; they are 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 having a return name and address in the back, and then we handed them onto trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming as an increasingly unrealistic prospect today, so it’s no surprise individuals are seeking out alternatives, especially seeing that the grants system throughout the uk has also been scrapped. Sadly, however, the field of fake universities can be as treacherous as real ones. You may think you’re registering for an absolutely legitimate Science of Feminism masters with the University of Bedford, only to discover yourself the latest victim in long-line played by the most academic hustlers within the game. Either that, or you’re a hustler yourself, seeking to blag the right path onto a grad-scheme with a make believe buy diploma certificate you got on eBay. If that’s the way it is, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.