Sitting here, thinking about it, I don’t actually know where my buy degree certificate is, and that is a reason for concern for a couple of reasons. First: that I am somehow absent-minded enough to operate towards something to find the best part of 36 months, just to lose it. And secondly, that I’ve never actually needed it. Every job I’ve had since graduating – which can be admittedly only this particular one and cleaning toilets inside a museum – I’ve got without ever needing to show anybody the evidence of my qualification.
On this evidence, there was hardly any part of 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. Lots of people are buying fake degrees from fake universities. The world wide web is loaded with them. Data dropped this week via HEDD (Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck) revealing that over 30 fake universities have already been de-activate before year. With many posing as actual institutions, others purporting being online-based open learning programmes, the web has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, there are concerns the issue is going to get worse.
So how easy will it be? Should I actually have a degree on the net? The number of universities out you will even find real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume inside my graduation photo? Did I even head to university?
To respond to many of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, to learn more concerning the bullshit universities available. “Well, it’s been a hidden problem,” says Jayne. “It was only really with putting together the HEDD service four to five yrs ago that there’s been any manner of creating up a national picture of degree fraud.”
HEDD can be a government-funded operation first set up in 2008, as central verification service for UK degrees – just before that, in the event you planned to check somebody’s degree was legit you experienced to make it happen with 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 has obviously thrown up a number of fake certificates, fake websites and queries about bogus universities.”
In accordance with Jayne, fake universities come in great shape. “You’ve got straightforward bogus operations, where there is no university – they’re just establishing a website to resemble a UK university. Those really are to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re applying for a UK university, or to make people think these are studying over a distance education course online, when they’re not. Those reel in innocent victims.”
Some “fake students”, however, are below innocent. One of the biggest problems fake universities present are people buying fraudulent qualifications so that you can deceive employers. “You will find the websites which are purely set up to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “A really common thing is for people with fake certificates to say, ‘Oh, you can examine my certificate about the university website. Then you certainly go the site – University of Wolverhamton minus the ‘p’ had been a popular one – enter into the information on the certificate, as well as a message returns saying, ‘This person is a bonafide graduate.'”
In terms of Jayne sees it, this really is a real and growing trend. “In March this season, the chance Advisory Group published a written report which screened 500 CVs and found major discrepancies with 70 % of those,” she says, “and of the discrepancies, 28 percent had difficulties with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on his or her CVs like a criminal offence, however it is.”
This reminded me from the websites that did the rounds when I was at sixth form where you can buy “novelty” ID cards that allow you to squeeze from the doors of nightclubs. Surely getting a degree wouldn’t be so easy?
Well yeah, actually. It took me about four seconds to land on Instant Degrees, a site that provides courses including Afrikaans to accounting, and all you need to do is fill a form. Above is my application for the degree in feminism – a degree I obtained in the tender chronilogical age of seven.
Jayne describes Instant Degrees being a website just selling fake certificates and “not actually bothering to pretend these are a university”. In spite of this, they can be very keen to stress how totally legal everything they have is. In their words: “This really is a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent those who understand value of having the ability to instantly convert their existing knowledge right into a degree, quickly and legally.” That is a nice strategy for checking out it. It form of validates your dad’s mate Roger who may be constantly banging on about how exactly degrees are a complete waste of efforts 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 been aware of Canterbury University. You haven’t; you’ve been aware of Canterbury Christ Church University. Canterbury University is, Jayne tells me, one of the most blatant offenders still online. It even includes a page where degree holders can go into the code on the back of their certificate as a way to “verify” their degree. But as Jayne points out, 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 whenever you examine 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.
However, if filling out the application forms with a fake uni website seems too taxing, there’s a much easier method that’s been right under our noses this all time: eBay.
Jayne has put this procedure to the test herself. “We bought some coming from a 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 prohibited to publish certificates which may have university trademarks about them; they can be still in breach of copyright. So that we bought some, one is at rocket science. The certificates came and they had holograms, signatures, but usefully the eBay seller had sent them in a envelope using a return name and address about the back, and then we handed them over to trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming just like an increasingly unrealistic prospect today, so it’s no surprise individuals are seeking out alternatives, especially given that the grants system in britain has also been scrapped. Sadly, however, the field of fake universities can be as treacherous as real ones. It might seem you’re getting started with an absolutely legitimate Science of Feminism masters with the University of Bedford, only to find yourself the latest victim in long-line played through the most academic hustlers inside the game. Either that, or you’re a hustler yourself, looking to blag the right path onto a grad-scheme using a make believe buy a degree you bought on eBay. If that’s the case, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.