Sitting here, thinking about it, I don’t actually know where my buy diploma certificate is, that is a cause for concern for 2 reasons. First: that we am somehow absent-minded enough to operate towards something for the best a part of 36 months, only to lose it. And secondly, that I’ve never actually needed it. Every job I’ve had since graduating – which happens to be admittedly only this and cleaning toilets in a museum – I’ve got without ever being forced to show anybody the proof of my qualification.
With this evidence, there was clearly minimal reason for me having studied in the first place. I might also have just spent a couple of quid internet and bought myself an imitation degree. Saved myself the funds, the tears, the endless bottles of Iceland’s Lambrucini.
Because: people really do this. Tons of everyone is buying fake degrees from fake universities. The internet is full of them. Data dropped in the week via HEDD (Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck) revealing that over 30 fake universities have already been turn off before year. With a few posing as actual institutions, others purporting to be online-based open learning programmes, the net has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, there are concerns the catch is going to get worse.
But just how easy would it be? Can I actually obtain a degree on the web? How many universities out you will even find real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume within my graduation photo? Did I even check out university?
To respond to a number of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, for additional information concerning the bullshit universities around. “Well, it’s been a hidden problem,” says Jayne. “It was actually only really with putting together the HEDD service four to five yrs ago that there’s been in any manner of building up a national picture of degree fraud.”
HEDD is really a government-funded operation first placed in 2008, as central verification service for UK degrees – ahead of that, when you wished to check somebody’s degree was legit you have to accomplish it throughout the university themselves, which put plenty 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.”
In accordance with Jayne, fake universities may be found in great shape. “You’ve got straightforward bogus operations, where there is not any university – they’re just generating a website to resemble a UK university. Those are really to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re looking for a UK university, or to make people think they are studying over 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. “You will find the websites that are purely set up to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “An incredibly common thing is for those who have fake certificates to express, ‘Oh, you can examine my certificate around the university website. Then you certainly go the website – University of Wolverhamton without the ‘p’ was a popular one – enter into the particulars on the certificate, plus a message comes back saying, ‘This individual is a bonafide graduate.'”
With regards to Jayne sees it, this is a real and growing trend. “In March this season, the chance Advisory Group published a study which screened 500 CVs and discovered major discrepancies with 70 percent of which,” she says, “and of all discrepancies, 28 percent had issues with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on their own CVs being a criminal offence, yet it is.”
This reminded me in the 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 that simple?
Well yeah, actually. It took me four seconds to land on Instant Degrees, a site that gives courses starting from Afrikaans to accounting, and all you want do is fill a form. Above is my application to get a degree in feminism – a qualification I obtained with the tender ages of seven.
Jayne describes Instant Degrees being a website just selling fake certificates and “not bothering to pretend they can be a university”. In spite of this, they are very keen to stress how totally legal everything they feature is. Within their words: “It is a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent individuals who understand the value of having the capacity to instantly convert their existing knowledge in to a degree, quickly and legally.” That is a nice means of looking at it. It kind of validates your dad’s mate Roger who may be 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 the bullshit scale is Canterbury University. Their homepage is above. Now, it might seem you’ve heard of Canterbury University. You haven’t; you’ve heard about Canterbury Christ Church University. Canterbury University is, Jayne tells me, one of the more blatant offenders still online. It even carries a page where degree holders can enter into the code on the rear of their certificate as a way to “verify” their degree. But as Jayne indicates, it is relatively simple to debunk the university’s existence. “Google street view can be your friend when tracking down bogus institutions,” she tells me. Which dexqpky12 sense when you examine a street view of Canterbury University’s supposed address.
That’s right. Ol’ Canterbury University. Nestled neatly between “Top Dogz” and “Ph Signs”. Where dreams are produced.
However, if filling in the applying forms with 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 process for 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 not allowed to publish certificates which may have university trademarks to them; they can be still in breach of copyright. So we bought some, one is in too difficult. The certificates came and they had holograms, signatures, but usefully the eBay seller had sent them inside an envelope having a return name and address about the back, so that we handed them up to trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming like an increasingly unrealistic prospect nowadays, so it’s no surprise folks are searching for alternatives, especially now that the grants system in britain has additionally been scrapped. Sadly, however, the field of fake universities can be as treacherous as real ones. It might seem you’re getting started with a perfectly legitimate Science of Feminism masters on the University of Bedford, only to find yourself the most recent victim in long-line played by the most academic hustlers from the game. Either that, or you’re a hustler yourself, looking to blag your way onto a grad-scheme with a make believe buy a degree you bought on eBay. If that’s the situation, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.