Fake Diplomas


fake-diploma1While sitting the the cafeteria of a well-known oil company chatting to a few offshore colleagues, one newly arrived chap was explaining that he had just completed training and was now a fully certified Siebel consultant. That sounded impressive, and as we were chatting he expanded upon this and explained that he had done the 3 day course the previous month. Yikes!, alarm bells rang inside my head, and glancing across to another colleague I could see that he had similar concerns. Having done the same training myself I was aware that it was most certainly not a 3 day course. He proceeded to show us the certificate card, and with pride presented it, then explained how much he had personally paid to obtain this. It confirmed our worst fears, “Siebel” was not even spelt correctly. The entire basis for this oil company paying for him to be there was his certification, and the poor chap had been clearly hoodwinked by some scoundrels who had run a fake certification course, and then awarded him fake credentials.

I had a quiet word with my colleague and we decided between ourselves that doing nothing was best, he needed to be given a chance to thrive. It would of course be challenging for him and as things progressed the realisation would dawn, and so he would need to spend quite a few nights playing catchup, but he was smart and deserved the opportunity. On his part there was no deliberate attempt to defraud but instead he himself was the victim here.

Degree Mills

This is not a rare experience, there is a thriving industry that churns out fake degrees. In fact for few dollars you can send off to one of the many degree mills in the US and gain fake credentials in whatever you wish.

One example of this is Thunderwood college, where for free you can have a degree after just a few clicks. In this instance the site is run by a skeptic who does it, not to deliberately defraud, but rather to highlight the very existence of such degree mills

Completely Non-Accredited.

At Thunderwood College, we will neither lie to you by claiming that our institution is accredited, nor will we attempt to defraud you by claiming accreditation from an unrecognized accreditation body. 

What Is Accreditation?
In the United States, the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation maintain an official list of accreditation bodies whose accreditations are accepted by the academic community. Other countries generally have similar rules. There is also a long list of completely bogus organizations that offer accreditation to any “university” who wants it. Institutions claiming accreditation from one of these sources should be treated with great skepticism, and it should be understood that degrees issued by these institutions are not recognized by the academic community. Many online colleges who issue degrees based on your “life experience” can claim to be accredited, and so they are, but it’s not an accreditation that holds any water. Your cat could accredit those institutions just as well. 

Why Thunderwood?
Why not Thunderwood? It is no different from the thousands of other unaccredited “diploma mills” where people get their degrees in unsubstantiated quackery

So yes, even cats are welcomed at Thunderwood and can get an instant degree.

Axact makes tens of millions of dollars annually offering fake diplomas and degrees

This one is rather shocking, Axact is a Pakistani software company that is being investigated for running numerous websites selling fake academic degrees. The New Your Times reports …

Seen from the Internet, it is a vast education empire: hundreds of universities and high schools, with elegant names and smiling professors at sun-dappled American campuses.

Their websites, glossy and assured, offer online degrees in dozens of disciplines, like nursing and civil engineering. There are glowing endorsements on the CNN iReport website, enthusiastic video testimonials, and State Department authentication certificates bearing the signature of Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We host one of the most renowned faculty in the world,” boasts a woman introduced in one promotional video as the head of a law school. “Come be a part of Newford University to soar the sky of excellence.”

Yet on closer examination, this picture shimmers like a mirage. The news reports are fabricated. The professors are paid actors. The university campuses exist only as stock photos on computer servers. The degrees have no true accreditation.

… 

“Hands down, this is probably the largest operation we’ve ever seen,” said Allen Ezell, a retired F.B.I. agent and author of a book on diploma mills who has been investigating Axact. “It’s a breathtaking scam.”

The effects have sometimes been deeply disruptive. In Britain, the police had to re-examine 700 cases that Mr. Morrison, the falsely credentialed police criminologist and Rochville graduate, had worked on. “It looked easier than going to a real university,” Mr. Morrison said during his 2007 trial.

In the Middle East, Axact has sold aeronautical degrees to airline employees, and medical degrees to hospital workers. One nurse at a large hospital in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, admitted to spending $60,000 on an Axact-issued medical degree to secure a promotion.

The article is a long read, but worth pondering over.

In the end when it comes too such easy degrees, the old adage holds true … Caveat emptora quick bit of googling may indeed bring to light the truth.

Bottom Line – there are two aspects to all this

  • Be aware of those who claim that they hold an impressive accreditation in some form of quackery or woo, it is in all probability a fake diploma.
  • Be aware of gaining a quick easy degree from an unaccredited degree mill, and carefully check the accreditation and reputation of any course you are about it sign up for.

Hint: Google is your friend.

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