Sitting here, considering it, I don’t actually know where my buy diploma certificate is, which is a cause of concern for 2 reasons. First: that we am somehow absent-minded enough to function towards something to find the best a part of 3 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 this and cleaning toilets in a museum – I’ve got without ever having to show anybody the evidence of my qualification.
For this evidence, there seemed to be very little reason for me having studied to start with. I might as well have just spent a number of quid on the internet and bought myself a fake degree. Saved myself the cash, the tears, the endless bottles of Iceland’s Lambrucini.
Because: people really do this. Loads of everyone is buying fake degrees from fake universities. The net is filled with them. Data dropped in the 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 to be online-based open learning programmes, the web has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, and there are concerns the issue is getting worse.
But exactly how easy will it be? May I actually obtain a degree on the net? The amount of universities out there are even real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume in my graduation photo? Did I even head to university?
To answer some of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, to find out more about the bullshit universities available. “Well, it’s been a concealed problem,” says Jayne. “It had been only really with establishing the HEDD service four to five yrs ago that there’s been any way of creating up a national picture of degree fraud.”
HEDD is a government-funded operation first placed in 2008, as central verification service for UK degrees – before that, if you wished to check somebody’s degree was legit you needed to accomplish it from 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.”
In accordance with Jayne, fake universities come in various forms. “You’ve got straightforward bogus operations, where there is no university – they’re just generating a website to look like a UK university. Those are really to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re trying to get a UK university, or make people think they may be studying on the online education course online, when they’re not. Those reel in innocent victims.”
Some “fake students”, however, are lower than innocent. One of the biggest problems fake universities present are people buying fraudulent qualifications in order to deceive employers. “There are the websites which are purely established to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “A very common thing is for people with fake certificates to say, ‘Oh, you can check my certificate in the university website. Then you definitely go the site – University of Wolverhamton without the ‘p’ was a popular one – enter the particulars on the certificate, as well as a message comes back saying, ‘This person is a bonafide graduate.'”
In terms of Jayne sees it, it is a real and growing trend. “In March this season, the danger Advisory Group published a report which screened 500 CVs and discovered major discrepancies with 70 % of those,” she says, “and of the discrepancies, 28 percent had problems with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on their own CVs as being a criminal offence, however it is.”
This reminded me in the websites that did the rounds after i was at sixth form where you can buy “novelty” ID cards that let you squeeze throughout 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 web site that gives courses which range from Afrikaans to accounting, and all you want do is fill in a form. Above is my application to get a degree in feminism – a diploma I obtained on the tender ages of seven.
Jayne describes Instant Degrees like a website just selling fake certificates and “not even bothering to pretend these are a university”. Regardless of this, these are very keen to stress how totally legal everything they feature is. In their words: “This can be a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent individuals who understand value of having the capability to instantly convert their existing knowledge in a degree, quickly and legally.” That is a nice method of taking a look at it. It kind of validates your dad’s mate Roger who 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, it might seem 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 enter into the code on the back of their certificate in order to “verify” their degree. But as Jayne highlights, it is relatively simple to debunk the university’s existence. “Google street view is your friend when tracking down bogus institutions,” she tells me. Which dexqpky12 sense whenever you have a look at a street take a look at 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 completing the applying forms on a fake uni website seems too taxing, there’s an even easier method that’s been right under our noses all this time: eBay.
Jayne has put this technique towards the test herself. “We bought some from the guy who has been offering fake certificates for £6.95 with nectar points,” she explains. “They say ‘this is perfect for novelty purposes’, but they’re unacceptable to publish certificates who have university trademarks to them; these are still in breach of copyright. So we bought some, one is at brain surgery. The certificates came and they also had holograms, signatures, but usefully the eBay seller had sent them within an envelope having a return name and address in the back, and then we handed them up to trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming like an increasingly unrealistic prospect these days, so it’s not surprising everyone is looking for alternatives, especially given that the grants system in the united kingdom has also been scrapped. Sadly, however, the world of fake universities is just as treacherous as real ones. You might think you’re signing up for a perfectly legitimate Science of Feminism masters on the University of Bedford, only to find yourself the most up-to-date victim in long-line played with the most academic hustlers from 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 a degree you purchased on eBay. If that’s the truth, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.