An investigation conducted by the BBC Radio 4’s File on Four programme disclosed that thousands of people from the UK had purchased fake degree certificates from a “diploma mill” in Pakistan, which promotes courses from a number of universities that do not exist.
Findings showed that around 3,000 fake qualifications – including Phds and master degrees – were purchased by UK based buyers, some of which were employed by the NHS, although there is no suggestion to say they are fundamentally unqualified.
This discovery has opened up a variety of questions about whether recruitment departments and HR have been carrying out efficient checks on accuracy of details provided in candidate’s CVs, this ranges from qualifications and experience to performance in previous roles.
Jane Rowley, Chief Executive of Higher Education Degree Data check (HEDD) said: “It’s a vicious circle of fraud – employers don’t make checks, so people embellish things on their CVs, they get away with it and the more they get away with it, the more they are inclined to embellish.”
She suggests further that the fake degree industry was surviving because employers were failing to undertake due diligence. Employers can use the HEDD website to verify whether a certificate is authentic.
Research conducted by the Risk Advisory Group identified that 38% of CVs studied from 25-32-year olds had been falsified.
Rowley estimated that only a fifth of employers carry out proper checks on applicant’s qualifications. She cautioned that using a fake degree certificate to apply for a job may be viewed as fraud by misrepresentation and could potentially carry a 10-year prison sentence.
It was reported that Axact sold more than 215,000 false qualifications worldwide from roughly 350 fictions universities and high schools to buyers in 2015.
Shoab Ahmed, Chief Executive of Axact was arrested in 2015 and released on bail after 15 months in custody, Umain Humaid was given 21 months in prison in August 2017.
The Department for Education said it was “taking decisive action to crack down on degree fraud that cheats genuine learners.”
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