Sitting here, thinking about it, I don’t actually know where my buy degree certificate is, which is a reason for concern for a couple of reasons. First: that I am somehow absent-minded enough to be effective towards something for the very best part of 3 years, merely to lose it. And secondly, that I’ve never actually needed it. Every job I’ve had since graduating – which is admittedly only this one and cleaning toilets inside a museum – I’ve got without ever having to show anybody the proof of my qualification.
With this evidence, there was very little reason for me having studied to begin with. I may at the same time have just spent a number of quid online 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 people are buying fake degrees from fake universities. The web is filled with them. Data dropped in the week via HEDD (Advanced Schooling Degree Datacheck) revealing that more than 30 fake universities happen to be de-activate before year. With a few posing as actual institutions, others purporting to get online-based open learning programmes, the internet has allowed an excessive proliferation of fake unis, there are concerns the thing is going to get worse.
So how easy could it be? May I actually obtain a degree on the net? The amount of universities out you will even find real? Why am I wearing a child’s Darth Vader costume in my graduation photo? Did I even go to university?
To reply to a number of these questions, I first contacted Jayne Rowley, director of HEDD, to learn more in regards to the bullshit universities out there. “Well, it’s been a concealed problem,” says Jayne. “It was actually only really with establishing the HEDD service four to five years ago that there’s been 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 – before that, should you planned to check somebody’s degree was legit you had to accomplish it through 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. “Which has obviously thrown up a variety of fake certificates, fake websites and queries about bogus universities.”
Based on Jayne, fake universities can 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 really are to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re trying to get a UK university, or perhaps to make people think they can be studying with a online education course online, when they’re not. Those reel in innocent victims.”
Some “fake students”, however, are less than innocent. One of the greatest problems fake universities present are people buying fraudulent qualifications to be able to deceive employers. “You will find the websites that happen to be purely established to back-up bogus certificates,” Jayne explains. “A very common thing is for those who have fake certificates to express, ‘Oh, you can examine my certificate on the university website. Then you go the site – University of Wolverhamton without the ‘p’ was really a popular one – enter in the details on the certificate, and 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 study which screened 500 CVs and found major discrepancies with 70 percent of which,” she says, “and of all the discrepancies, 28 percent had problems with educational qualifications. People genuinely don’t see lying on their own CVs as a criminal offence, but it is.”
This reminded me of your 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 easy?
Well yeah, actually. It took me about four seconds to land on Instant Degrees, a web site that provides courses including Afrikaans to accounting, and all you want do is complete a form. Above is my application for any degree in feminism – a qualification I obtained in the tender age of seven.
Jayne describes Instant Degrees being a website just selling fake certificates and “not even bothering to pretend they can be a university”. Regardless of this, they are very keen to stress how totally legal everything they have is. With their words: “This can be a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent those who understand value of having the capability to instantly convert their existing knowledge into a degree, quickly and legally.” And that is a nice strategy for considering it. It kind of validates your dad’s mate Roger who seems to be constantly banging on about how exactly degrees are a total waste of some time 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, it might seem you’ve read about Canterbury University. You haven’t; you’ve heard of Canterbury Christ Church University. Canterbury University is, Jayne tells me, one of the more blatant offenders still online. It even has a page where degree holders can enter in the code on the rear of their certificate so that you can “verify” their degree. But as Jayne highlights, it is easy to debunk the university’s existence. “Google street view is the friend when tracking down bogus institutions,” she tells me. Which dexqpky12 sense if 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 produced.
But if filling in the applying forms with a fake uni website seems too taxing, there’s a level easier method that’s been right under our noses all of this time: eBay.
Jayne has put this procedure on 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 say ‘this is made for novelty purposes’, but they’re unacceptable to publish certificates who have university trademarks about them; they can be still in breach of copyright. So that we bought some, one is in too difficult. The certificates came and so they had holograms, signatures, but usefully the eBay seller had sent them within an envelope using a return name and address around the back, so we handed them up to trading standards. Still got the nectar points though.”
University is seeming like an increasingly unrealistic prospect today, so it’s no surprise folks are looking for alternatives, especially now that the grants system throughout the uk has been specifically scrapped. Sadly, however, the industry of fake universities is just as treacherous as real ones. It might seem you’re getting started with a perfectly legitimate Science of Feminism masters with the University of Bedford, only to discover yourself the most up-to-date victim in long-line played with the most academic hustlers in the game. Either that, or you’re a hustler yourself, trying to blag the right path onto a grad-scheme by using a make believe buy a degree you purchased on eBay. If that’s the situation, then beware: the heads at HEDD are onto you, fresher.