# Fake diplomas

I'm not trying to sell you one!

While having a coffee, I just read this interesting article in an old issue of Symmetry: http://symmetrymagazine.org/cms/?pid=1000304

We all get these emails offering degrees but I never thought that so many people would buy them, or obtain jobs with them!

I guess it's the same old question of how a degree from one university matches up against that from another - although in this case one of the degrees contains no content!

Should the handing out of degrees be more heavily policed?

By a worldwide watchdog?!?

More info from the guy who wrote the original article: http://www.hep.uiuc.edu/home/g-gollin/pigeons/#news - may even post or visit here (?)

Wow, interesting article. I really never considered that they could be selling so many. What a weird con. The author brings up a very good point of the damage it has and can do in the future to the Liberian country itself. That is really too bad. And the workers who are losing their jobs being swindled out of 1000s of dollars by these cons, pretty bad. I guess I never really thought someone would be able to pass one of these off as a real diploma... I'm so naive.

Norman said:
Wow, interesting article. I really never considered that they could be selling so many. What a weird con. The author brings up a very good point of the damage it has and can do in the future to the Liberian country itself. That is really too bad. And the workers who are losing their jobs being swindled out of 1000s of dollars by these cons, pretty bad. I guess I never really thought someone would be able to pass one of these off as a real diploma... I'm so naive.

People with presidential appointments in government have been caught with fake diploma's. Its not the least bit surprising.

No, but the vast numbers are suprising to me.
From the article:
Overall, the American-dominated diploma mill industry probably sells at least 200,000 degrees per year–dwarfing the number of higher education degrees conferred by the public education system of any single state in the United States except California (199,856 degrees in 2003).

That is a lot of fakes.

Norman said:
No, but the vast numbers are suprising to me.
From the article:

That is a lot of fakes.

That is reality. A lot of people have no work ethic, and an entitlement culture. This is what you get.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
When I was hired, I gave faculty members for reference. The VP of the company which hired me knew my faculty advisor, and they knew a colleague who turned down the job. Furthermore, I provided a copy of my thesis.

Company managers or HR staff need to check the authenticity of a hire.

I work in a very specialize field with limited numbers of people doing what we do, and we usually know who is out there in academia and industry. There is no way we'd hire a person with a fake degree. We know most, in not all, of the faculty in the fields for which we hire people, so it would be impossible for someone to fake a background in our field.

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Well, the fact that 200,000 of these fake diplomas are sold annually says nothing at all about how many might actually be used annually. I strongly suspect -- though I have no statistics -- that most of these diplomas are never actually used for any nefarious purpose.

I suspect they're mostly sold under impulse. Someone's looking for a job, comes across the fake diploma site, orders one for $50, and then discovers that it just looks too stupid to actually show to an employer. I personally see the whole thing as pretty laughable. Sure, it's an ethical problem, ethical people shouldn't partake in them, and no employer wants such unethical people inside their buildings. However, I don't really see any harm done in the long run. After all, if a person truly has the knowledge necessary to perform a job well, then, in my opinion, that person deserves the job, regardless of formal training. On the other hand, if a person does not have the knowledge necessary to perform a job well, then he/she will quickly lose it anyway, fake diploma or real. - Warren chroot said: Well, the fact that 200,000 of these fake diplomas are sold annually says nothing at all about how many might actually be used annually. I strongly suspect -- though I have no statistics -- that most of these diplomas are never actually used for any nefarious purpose. I suspect they're mostly sold under impulse. Someone's looking for a job, comes across the fake diploma site, orders one for$50, and then discovers that it just looks too stupid to actually show to an employer.

I personally see the whole thing as pretty laughable. Sure, it's an ethical problem, ethical people shouldn't partake in them, and no employer wants such unethical people inside their buildings. However, I don't really see any harm done in the long run. After all, if a person truly has the knowledge necessary to perform a job well, then, in my opinion, that person deserves the job, regardless of formal training. On the other hand, if a person does not have the knowledge necessary to perform a job well, then he/she will quickly lose it anyway, fake diploma or real.

- Warren

And in the case of FEMA officials, that mistake of hiring someone unqualified can cost lives.

http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/06/06/08/100loc_b2disaster001.cfm [Broken]

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chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I should clarify my position a little: I certainly agree that anyone who works in life-threatening sort of career (dialysis machine operator, building inspector, etc.) should have verifiable credentials. The reason is simple: the lack of one small bit of knowledge can result in the loss of life. Even if a prospective employee with no diploma knows 99% of the required material, it isn't enough. You need an employee with credentials, to ensure that they really have been exposed to 100% of the material by a known entity.

On the other hand, the majority of professions in this world -- real estate angents, computer programmers, etc. -- don't do anything life-threatening. If some kid who's been programming for half his life knows more about programming than some seasoned veteran with two degrees, I really see no reason to prefer the veteran.

- Warren

smjacob
It's all about the buyer of the fake college degree. If he/she has a high morality limit than that degree won't affect any people but if the morality standards are low, .... Well just think of a person you trust with your life and he/she doesn't know what to do with it. Anyway a diploma like this is very good for getting somebody out of a mess.

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Darnit, if I had known about this sooner I wouldn't have wasted my time pursuing knowledge. Sticky this so that a younger generation knows of this helpful shortcut

mathwonk
Homework Helper
which is more fake? A diploma purchased by someone who understands his subject? or one awarded to someone who does not?

jcsd
Gold Member
which is more fake? A diploma purchased by someone who understands his subject? or one awarded to someone who does not?

Well I suppose the idea is that someone who has been awarded a diploma is more likely to understand their subject than someone who hasn't.

But I agree with you far to much value is placed on pieces of paper, it seems some take them as an exact measurement of someones knowledge/understanding or even worse treat them more importantly than someone's knowledge understanding.

"It's all about the buyer of the fake college degree. If he/she has a high morality limit than that degree won't affect any people but if the morality standards are low, .... Well just think of a person you trust with your life and he/she doesn't know what to do with it. Anyway a diploma like this is very good for getting somebody out of a mess."

What a ridiculous philosophy. I suppose you also don't question the morality of drug lords? After all, it is children's "morality standards" that should keep them from using drugs. And after all, they do come in useful when you want to get high.

Pathetic.

BobG
Homework Helper
which is more fake? A diploma purchased by someone who understands his subject? or one awarded to someone who does not?

Or:

Wizard of Oz said:
"I can't give you brains, but I can give you a diploma."

Fake diplomas work some of the time because there's an awful lot of accredited colleges in the US and many different accreditation organizations. Even the accreditation organizations can be faked. A diploma mill can set up an accreditation organization that accredits all of their fake universities.

Makes it hard for the HR folks in a company. They check with a 'good' fake university that supplies a fake transcript or at least verification the individual 'graduated' from their university and the HR department's check is probably done. If they're worried about fake diploma mills, they go a step further and check the university's legitimacy, only to find it is indeed accredited by a regional or national accreditation organization. They have to go even one more step to realize the accreditation organization is fake.

Not incredibly hard to sort through in the age of computers and the internet, but time consuming enough to have an impact if you're talking lots of employees and a low percentage of fake diplomas. And, the fake diplomas usually have little impact. They're usually used to pad a resume of a person with experience, but lacking in formal education. They're rarely used to create a resume out of whole cloth. (Edit: Or, if they are, this should become obvious during a job interview when the person hasn't a clue what you're talking about. Fake diplomas might get you an interview, but they probably won't get you a job.)

Of course, the longer the fake diploma sits around in a person's resume and the higher up the person moves in the company, the higher the risk the fake diploma eventually results in huge embarrassment for both the individual and the company.

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Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Who is ever asked to produce a diploma when applying for a job? The diploma just hangs on the wall of some obscure room, if it even gets unpacked after the second or third move post-graduation (unless you're an MD, then you must display it prominently over your desk so everyone can admire it ). Anyone can write what they want to write on their resume, and if the credential is important, an employer should be asking for transcripts and letters of reference, not a diploma. A diploma doesn't show you learned anything, it just means you passed with a high enough GPA to be allowed to graduate.

Doc Al
Mentor
The diploma just hangs on the wall of some obscure room, if it even gets unpacked after the second or third move post-graduation....
Funny you should say this... I'm in the process of moving and I just found my diplomas in a closet--still unpacked after coming back from getting framed, decades ago. They'll go into a basement cubbyhole, I suppose...

I once interviewed someone who produced a wallet-size version of his doctorate. It looked pretty cool and official. I got a good laugh. (I wish I had chosen "wallet size"...)

Math Is Hard
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Is it considered ostentatious to display your diploma in your office if you aren't an MD or a veterinarian? (All the vets here have their diplomas on display).

EnumaElish
Homework Helper
Only if it's fake.

George Jones
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Who is ever asked to produce a diploma when applying for a job?

For one job that I had, I had to get my university to send official transcipts, and I had to supply a *photocopy* of my diploma.

Math Is Hard
Staff Emeritus