Sitting here, thinking about it, I don’t actually know where my buy a diploma is, and that is a reason for concern for two reasons. First: which i am somehow absent-minded enough to be effective towards something to get the best component of three years, just to lose it. And secondly, that I’ve never actually needed it. Every job I’ve had since graduating – which 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.
On this evidence, there was clearly hardly any reason for me having studied to begin with. I may at the same time have just spent a couple of quid online and bought myself a fake degree. Saved myself the amount of money, the tears, the endless bottles of Iceland’s Lambrucini.
Because: people actually do this. Plenty of folks are buying fake degrees from fake universities. The internet is filled with them. Data dropped this week via HEDD (Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck) revealing that more than 30 fake universities have already been turn off before year. With a bit of posing as actual institutions, others purporting to become online-based open learning programmes, the world wide web has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, and then there are concerns the thing is going to get worse.
But just how easy is it? May I actually have a degree on the net? How many universities out you can even find real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume in my graduation photo? Did I even visit university?
To answer a few of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, for more information regarding the bullshit universities out there. “Well, it’s been a concealed problem,” says Jayne. “It was actually only really with creating the HEDD service 4 to 5 years back that there’s been any manner of creating up a national picture of degree fraud.”
HEDD is a government-funded operation first set up in 2008, as central verification service for UK degrees – before that, should you wanted to check somebody’s degree was legit you experienced to get it done from 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 includes obviously thrown up several fake certificates, fake websites and queries about bogus universities.”
Based on Jayne, fake universities are available in many forms. “You’ve got straightforward bogus operations, where there is not any university – they’re just establishing a website to resemble a UK university. Those really are to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re obtaining a UK university, or make people think they may be studying on a distance education course online, when they’re not. Those reel in innocent victims.”
Some “fake students”, however, are lower than innocent. The most significant problems fake universities present are people buying fraudulent qualifications in order to deceive employers. “You will find the websites which can be purely set up to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “A very common thing is for those who have fake certificates to state, ‘Oh, you can check my certificate about the university website. Then you go the web site – University of Wolverhamton with no ‘p’ had been a popular one – enter the information on the certificate, and a message returns saying, ‘This individual is a bonafide graduate.'”
So far as Jayne sees it, it is a real and growing trend. “In March this current year, the chance Advisory Group published a report which screened 500 CVs and located major discrepancies with 70 percent of which,” she says, “and of all of the discrepancies, 28 percent had problems with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on their own CVs like a criminal offence, but it is.”
This reminded me from the websites that did the rounds once i was at sixth form where you can buy “novelty” ID cards that allow you to squeeze from the doors of nightclubs. Surely acquiring a degree wouldn’t be that simple?
Well yeah, actually. It took me four seconds to land on Instant Degrees, an internet site that provides courses which range from Afrikaans to accounting, and all you want do is fill a form. Above is my application for any degree in feminism – a college degree I obtained at the tender ages of seven.
Jayne describes Instant Degrees being a website just selling fake certificates and “not bothering to pretend these are a university”. Despite this, they are very keen to stress how totally legal everything they have is. In their words: “It is a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent people that understand the need for being able to instantly convert their existing knowledge into a degree, quickly and legally.” Which is actually a nice method of checking out it. It type of validates your dad’s mate Roger that is constantly banging on regarding how degrees are a waste of efforts 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 might think you’ve heard about Canterbury University. You haven’t; you’ve heard about Canterbury Christ Church University. Canterbury University is, Jayne tells me, one of the most blatant offenders still online. It even features a page where degree holders can enter in the code on the rear of their certificate to be able to “verify” their degree. But as Jayne indicates, it can be not too difficult to debunk the university’s existence. “Google street view is the friend when tracking down bogus institutions,” she tells me. Which dexqpky12 sense when 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 created.
But when completing the application form forms over a fake uni website seems too taxing, there’s a much easier method that’s been right under our noses all this time: eBay.
Jayne has put this method to the test herself. “We bought some from your guy who had been offering fake certificates for £6.95 with nectar points,” she explains. “They claim ‘this is for novelty purposes’, but they’re not allowed to publish certificates who have university trademarks on them; they may be still in breach of copyright. And then we bought some, one was in too difficult. The certificates came plus they had holograms, signatures, but usefully the eBay seller had sent them in an envelope with a return name and address about the back, so that we handed them over to trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming such as an increasingly unrealistic prospect these days, so it’s no wonder everyone is searching for alternatives, especially given that the grants system throughout the uk has been scrapped. Sadly, however, the realm of fake universities is really as treacherous as real ones. You might think you’re subscribing to a perfectly legitimate Science of Feminism masters in the University of Bedford, only to find yourself the most up-to-date victim in long-line played by the most academic hustlers within the game. Either that, or you’re a hustler yourself, hoping to blag the right path onto a grad-scheme having a make believe fake degree certificate malaysia you purchased on eBay. If that’s the truth, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.