Axact, a highly respected company based in Pakistan with over 2,000 employees was recently exposed as a prolific degree mill empire with 370 fake university and college websites. What is a degree mill? A degree mill sells fraudulent academic degrees and diplomas. People will buy fake degrees and the paperwork that goes along with it to falsely show that they earned a degree. Sometimes the fake degrees will come from schools that are completely fabricated. Other times, a real school’s name will be used but the degree and transcripts will be false.
Most people who patronize these sites purchase fraudulent degrees on purpose. However, sometimes people are duped by the websites of fake schools these mills use to churn out degrees. Websites for these schools are purposefully misleading, touting names like “Columbiana University” or “Barkley University.” People seeking international education or to study abroad are particularly at risk for falling victim to this fraud. On the same note, companies that tend to hire foreign workers are also at heightened risk of hiring people with fake degrees because there are so many schools in so many countries with different educational systems and customs.
The solution is NOT to just stop hiring foreign workers or to never live abroad for school. There are too many opportunities in the increasingly global job market to shut yourself and your business off from opportunity just to protect yourself from the possibility of falling victim to degree mills. Going to school abroad will give you an international perspective that will give you a competitive edge in the job market. You will learn new languages and cultures. Hiring foreign workers will allow your company to gain an international and multicultural perspective, and give you the ability to choose from the best and brightest potential hires from around the world.
So how can you protect yourself and your business from hiring people with false credentials?
First, make sure the college or university the alleged degree was earned at actually exists. If it does exist, double check to make sure the program the degree was earned in actually exists. If either the school or the program doesn’t exist, the degree can’t be real.
Second, take a detailed look at the timeframes expressed in your potential hire’s application. If they completed a bachelor’s degree BEFORE their high school degree, you may have a fake on your hands.