Eighty-five fake UK university sites have been shut down over the past five years as part of a federal government crackdown on degree fraud, according to Jisc, the innovation and IT agency for British higher education.
Phony degrees are a growing issue as job candidates seek to set themselves apart in a competitive labour market.
Among the phony universities shut was Newcastle Company College, which declared to take thousands of British students on to its school every year, yet had no physical facilities in the UK and a telephone number that went only to voicemail. An investigation revealed it was offering phony MBA and DBA qualifications out of the Middle East.
Another fake organization, the European University of Company (which has no affiliation with the Warsaw and Berlin-based institution of the exact same name), offered undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications utilizing the ac.uk academic domain name for which educational institutions register through the federal government.
The closures are the result of a crackdown versus fraudulent websites masquerading as authentic universities, launched by the federal government in 2015 to protect the worldwide credibility of UK universities. The initiative, run by Potential customers Hedd degree fraud service for Jisc, has considering that led to 310 organizations being examined for providing phony degrees.
Chris Rea, who runs Potential customer Hedd, said he has actually observed an increase in certification fraud recently, especially for diplomas and degree certificates: “More people working online combined with a competitive tasks market, economic decline and a general sensation of insecurity are making people susceptible, and fraudsters are taking advantage.”
Rea recommended that companies carefully vet the credentials of any brand-new workers. “The only method to stop these operators is to remove the need,” he stated.
Some of the sites sold counterfeit degree certificates which they claimed were from authentic universities. A BBC investigation in 2014 discovered a website selling phony degree certificates from the University of Kent for ₤ 500, which were referred to as for “novelty purposes, or as a replacement for lost diplomas”.
” Given the nature of these websites, which can close as quickly as they appear, there are many more deceptive operators than our official figures tell us. In reality, it is most likely there are as numerous, if not more, than the UK organizations that are real,” Rea said.
Educational fraud is thought to be on the rise in the UK as a result of the pandemic, with the variety of essay mills proliferating to reach 932 in operation. On 10 February, the former universities minister Chris Skidmore introduced a 10-minute rule expense in the Commons seeking to outlaw essay-writing services in the UK, warning that they threaten to “harm scholastic stability beyond repair”.