Fake Degree Industry Growing Fast, Say Experts

Job applicants using fake degrees are a growing concern, and one of South Africa’s largest background screening companies says it is aware of almost 700 “degree mills.”

MIE

19 April 2011

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Job applicants using fake degrees are a growing concern, and one of South Africa’s largest background screening companies says it is aware of almost 700 “degree mills.” Ina van der Merwe, chief executive of MIE, said the list of degree mills was growing daily.

These included websites that offered fake certificates using the names of real tertiary institutions, and institutions that were not accredited and did not provide any form of education. Van der Merwe said some job applicants also used forged certificate they made themselves.

In some cases the names of tertiary institutions on the fake degrees would vary slightly from that of real institutions. For example, the University of Harvard, instead of Harvard University.

There were now even fake accreditation bodies that would verify that forged degrees were in fact from accredited tertiary institutions.

Van der Merwe said that if a fake degree was identified during the verification proves, the university and the client who requested the verification would be notified. A copy of the fake certificate and the details of the job applicant would then be sent to the South African Fraud Prevention Services.
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