Sitting here, considering it, I don’t actually know where my degree certificate is, that is a cause for concern for just two reasons. First: that we am somehow absent-minded enough to be effective towards something to get the best a part of three years, merely to lose it. And secondly, that I’ve never actually needed it. Every job I’ve had since graduating – that is admittedly only that one and cleaning toilets inside a museum – I’ve got without ever needing to show anybody the evidence of my qualification.
About this evidence, there was very little point in me having studied from the beginning. I may also have just spent a few quid online and bought myself an imitation degree. Saved myself the cash, the tears, the endless bottles of Iceland’s Lambrucini.
Because: people do this. Plenty of folks are buying buy fake diploma. The internet is stuffed with them. Data dropped this week via HEDD (Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck) revealing that over 30 fake universities are already turn off in past times year. With a few posing as actual institutions, others purporting being online-based open learning programmes, the internet has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, there are concerns the issue is getting worse.
So how easy will it be? Can One actually get a degree on the net? The number of universities out there are even real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume within my graduation photo? Did I even head to university?
To resolve many of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, for additional information regarding the bullshit universities around. “Well, it’s been a concealed problem,” says Jayne. “It was actually only really with establishing the HEDD service 4 to 5 yrs ago that there’s been in any manner of creating up a national picture of degree fraud.”
HEDD can be a government-funded operation first positioned in 2008, as central verification service for UK degrees – prior to that, when you wanted to check somebody’s degree was legit you had to make it happen with 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 a number of fake certificates, fake websites and queries about bogus universities.”
According to Jayne, fake universities may be found in many forms. “You’ve got straightforward bogus operations, where there is not any university – they’re just establishing a website to look like a UK university. Those are really to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re looking for a UK university, or even to make people think these are studying over a distance learning course online, when they’re not. Those reel in innocent victims.”
Some “fake students”, however, are lower than innocent. One of the primary problems fake universities present are people buying fraudulent qualifications as a way to deceive employers. “There are actually the websites that are purely established to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “An extremely common thing is for people who have fake certificates to mention, ‘Oh, you can check my certificate about the university website. Then you certainly go the web site – University of Wolverhamton without the ‘p’ was actually a popular one – enter in the information on the certificate, and a message returns saying, ‘This individual is a bonafide graduate.'”
As far as Jayne sees it, this is a real and growing trend. “In March this season, the danger Advisory Group published a written report which screened 500 CVs and discovered major discrepancies with 70 percent of which,” she says, “and of all of the discrepancies, 28 percent had issues with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on his or her CVs like a criminal offence, however 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 with the doors of nightclubs. Surely getting a degree wouldn’t be so simple?
Well yeah, actually. It took me four seconds to land on Instant Degrees, a website that offers courses including Afrikaans to accounting, and all you have to do is fill a form. Above is my application to get a degree in feminism – a diploma 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 these are a university”. In spite of this, these are very keen to stress how totally legal everything they offer is. Inside their words: “This is a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent people who understand value of being able to instantly convert their existing knowledge in a degree, quickly and legally.” That is a nice means of considering it. It type of validates your dad’s mate Roger who is constantly banging on regarding how degrees are a total 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, you might think you’ve heard about Canterbury University. You haven’t; you’ve been aware of Canterbury Christ Church University. Canterbury University is, Jayne tells me, probably the most blatant offenders still online. It even has a page where degree holders can go into the code on the back of their certificate to be able to “verify” their degree. But as Jayne indicates, it is actually easy to debunk the university’s existence. “Google street view is the friend when tracking down bogus institutions,” she tells me. That makes sense when you take a look at a street view of Canterbury University’s supposed address.
Jayne has put this process towards the test herself. “We bought some from your 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 not allowed to publish certificates that have university trademarks on them; they may be still in breach of copyright. And then we bought some, one was in brain surgery. The certificates came and so they had holograms, signatures, but usefully the eBay seller had sent them inside an envelope using a return name and address around the back, therefore we handed them over to trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming as an increasingly unrealistic prospect today, so it’s no wonder everyone is searching for alternatives, especially given that the grants system in the united kingdom has been scrapped. Sadly, however, the world of fake universities is just as treacherous as real ones. You might think you’re signing up for an absolutely 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 dexkpky32 hustlers inside the game. Either that, or you’re a hustler yourself, seeking to blag your path onto a grad-scheme using a make believe degree you got on eBay. If that’s the case, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.