2011 Report on Diploma and Accreditation Mill Activity

Nick Fishman

Our U.K. strategic partner, Verifile Ltd. has published their 2011 report on diploma and accreditation mill activity and reveals an astounding 48% increase worldwide in the number of known diploma and accreditation mills in the past year alone. As the Internet is the primary home for these bogus education and accreditation providers, little action is taken to stop them from helping unscrupulous candidates deceive unsuspecting employers. This year’s Accredibase™ report examines the current status of the diploma mill situation and considers what can be done to protect the public and businesses.

The Accredibase™ report identifies the following red flags that may help in the identification of diploma mills*:

  • The institution does not have authority to operate or grant degrees from the education authorities where it claims to be based.
  • Degrees are delivered in a very short space of time – sometimes just a few days.
  • Degrees are granted based entirely on work or life experience.
  • Contact details are limited to an email address and the institution is vague about its location.
  • The institution will allow the student to choose his/her own course title and specify the graduation year to appear on the certificate.
  • Sample certificates, transcripts or verification letters are available to view on the website.
  • Institutions make over-complicated or misleading claims about accreditation or recognition.
  • The institution’s name is similar to that of a recognised and respected education institution.
  • Internet domain names are misleading – such as ‘.ac’ instead of the regulated ‘.ac.uk’ used by higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.
  • The website is poorly designed, has poor spelling and grammar or it plagiarises copy from other institutions.

Verifile’s proprietary database of diploma and accreditation mills, Accredibase™, keeps track of the credential fraud industry. Verifile’s Accredibase™ has identified approximately 5000 suspect educational institutions and accreditors, including 2,615 known bogus education and accreditation providers. In addition to the huge number of confirmed mills known to Accredibase™, new suspect institutions are discovered on a daily basis – more than 2,000 are currently under investigation by Accredibase™ for inclusion in the database.

Download the full report

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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