Can you spot a counterfeit academic printed certificate?

Can you spot a counterfeit academic printed certificate?

An investigation by the BBC found that thousands of people have bought fake university degree certificates from a company in Pakistan. The worrying part is that these people included medical consultants and nurses – people who we trust to care for us and our loved ones.

The sale of counterfeit academic printed certificates is on the rise. Even though it’s not illegal to purchase one it is illegal to present an employer with a fake printed certificate. The companies who offer counterfeit printed certificates go to great lengths to make them look genuine. With a little research and knowing what to look for you’ll be able to spot the counterfeit certificates from the real ones. Here are some things to check:


A lot of counterfeit printed certificates that we’ve seen use overly decorative Gothic style fonts. It’s believed that these fonts reflect prestige and professionalism. However, printed certificates which are awarded by most colleges or universities use a combination of modern and ornate fonts.


The style of language used on a certificate can also be a clue as to whether it’s real or fake. Genuine certificates use clear phrases and avoid overcomplicated language and outdated phrases.


It’s not uncommon for counterfeit certificates to have the postal address of the university on the certificate. To be sure that the printed certificate you’re presented with is genuine, check out the address online. Google’s StreetView is a great tool to use as it shows the actual building. If it doesn’t look like an established educational institution, it probably isn’t.

Educational institution

The UK has over 240 colleges and around 130 universities and thousands of independent schools and colleges. These numbers can make it difficult to know if the certificate has been awarded by a genuine educational institution.

You may be able to tell if the certificate is genuine by how the name is written. For example, a genuine certificate will have ‘University of York’ written on it, not York University or York Uni. If you have doubts, you may be able to check the credibility of a university certificate using – a centralised system for verification of university degrees.

Security features

Counterfeit printed certificates pose a real problem for colleges and universities, so to combat it many use security features, such as holograms and secure ink which are embedded into the paper the certificate is printed on. If a printed certificate is lacking these features, it’s probably counterfeit.

If you are an educational institution or run training programmes, or if you’re a business who is looking to reward your employees with certificates, it’s advisable to use an established and professional print management firm to handle your certificate printing.

With over three decades of experience, we are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of certificate printing. To discuss what is involved in printing certificates, complete our online enquiry form, leaving your name, contact details and a brief description of your requirements and a member of our experienced print team will be in touch.