Fake degrees, don’t get caught out!

Fake degrees, don’t get caught out!

Cases of professionals who have lied about their qualifications and have used fake degrees regularly make the headlines. The stories go from little white lies to false claims on résumés and it is often rather funny for us and a bit embarrassing for them until it gets a lot more serious and worrying. There are many cases that we could mention but here are a few….

From slightly embarrassing…

In 2008, celebrity chef Robert Irving was fired from his own TV show when it was uncovered that he lied about designing Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding cake.

In 2012, it came to light that Yahoo CEO, Scott Thompson, didn’t actually have the degree in computer science he claimed to have. Although this was never cited as the cause of his departure, Yahoo announced he was no longer working for the company 130 days after his appointment.

After spending 28 years at the MIT, it was discovered that Dean Marilee Jones, had no qualifications despite putting on her CV that she had a Bachelor and a Master’s degree. She eventually resigned.

Individuals, like the above, who embellish the truth, usually have their reputation dented and lose their jobs but, overall, the consequences are not a matter of life and death.

It is however very different when this happens in the healthcare sector.

…to a lot more serious!

Across the World and here in the UK. there are many reported cases of fake doctors, nurses and even vets.

In 1996, it was reported that over 30 bogus doctors had been practicing within the NHS. Some for a few years, one GP for 30 years.

A Norvegian bureaucrat who held senior administrative positions within the healthcare and public sector was jailed for 14 months and fined 1 million NOK in 2010. This was following the revelation by a journalist that she did not have the qualifications she claimed to have from top UK and Norvegian establishments. She wasn’t even a registered nurse and left school with no qualifications.

In 2009, a banker who fantasised about being a surgeon worked for 14 months and carried out 190 operations after forging a degree from Oxford University. The German hospital where he worked never questioned his British training or his degree certificate, which contained spelling mistakes.

Fake degrees, what’s at stake?

Fake degrees have disastrous consequences for a large number of stakeholders. Overseas students are being conned out of thousands of pounds to get a fake degree, employers are at risk of recruiting unqualified staff, and the UK government’s reputation as a provider of high quality education is in jeopardy.

There are hundreds of websites offering fake degrees, some trading under the name of some existing reputable institutions. Prospects, the graduates experts, appointed by the Government in June to “take down fake Universities” have come across the University of Wolverhamton (note the missing ‘p’) or Manchester University (instead of the University of Manchester). Other names were completely made up such as Chelsea, Canterbury and Grantchester universities.

Nonetheless, a degree from a fake university is one thing but what about fake degrees from genuine institutions?

Degree certificates – what to look for?

Fake certificates are often difficult to spot so it is important to know what to look out for.

At first glance:

• Spelling mistakes: Watch out for typos, grammar mistakes etc… Recognised institutions would never jeopardise their reputation by issuing degree certificates full of mistakes

• Terminology from other countries: For example, a UK degree should not refer to a semester as a season (ie: fall) or state “with highest distinction”. These are American terminologies.

• Language: Up until 10 years ago, some UK universities issued certificates entirely in Latin. This practice has now disappeared. Always check the dates of issuance.

• University name: As mentioned above, does the institution exists?

• Name of the registrar: Do they work there?

Look further:

Most genuine degree certificates carry many security features that are highly difficult to counterfeit including UV dull paper, invisible UPV channel and holograms with a bespoke design to each university. Hague currently print degree certificates and transcripts for over 100 universities worldwide.

In addition to securely printed certificates, Universities and Colleges are also encouraged to use a secure online system to issue the documents and verify degree credentials.

Secure Web Verification Service & Electronic Document Delivery

Systems such as Hague’s PremierCert, allow Universities to manage securely documents online with benefits for the institutions itself, the students and the future employers including secure online ordering of certificates, assurance of the integrity of student qualifications and reduction in admin costs.

Degree counterfeiting is a big business that will not end overnight but by choosing to work with experts that can provide both highly secure certificates and online solutions, Institutions can certainly make counterfeiters’ life more difficult.

Contact us now for more information about degree certificates and secure web verification and document delivery.

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