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Your Organization’sVERIFICATIONReputationon the Line:The Real Costof AcademicFraud2300 Dulles Station Boulevard, Suite 300Herndon, VA 20171www.nscverifications.orgser

GraduationEvery spring throughout America, graduates cross stages. Familiesand friends watch proudly as they collect their college diplomas — theculmination of years of hard work and studying. Meanwhile, every dayother “graduates” collect their diplomas in private with just a few clicksof a mouse. Their diplomas are not the result of hard work and honestacademic pursuits. Rather, their degrees are the result of online searchesand credit card charges. It’s one of the many forms of academic fraud.Degree AttainedTo “graduates” who choose to purchase rather than earn theirdegrees, the act may seem victimless. However, in this highlycompetitive job market, academic fraud robs honest graduatesof opportunities and can be very costly to employers. Your40%organization could potentiallybe victimized by prospectswho falsify their academic 60%credentials on job applications. Theproblem is serious, prevalent, and ever-increasing. Fortunately,through our unique DegreeVerifySM service, the National StudentClearinghouse offers a solution that can help your organizationprotect itself from the growing problem of academic fraud.!Signs of Degree Fraud1. Spelling or grammatical errorson the degree2. Printed (instead of embossed)school seal on diploma3. Degree earned in an unusuallyshort time and/or severaldegrees awarded in thesame yearertifications4. Skipped steps or out-of-orderEligibilitydegrees (e.g., going from abachelor’s to a doctoratewithout a master’s)5. Deceptive college name thatis very similar to that of alegitimate institutionxThe Prevalence of Academic FraudAcademic fraud is the act of falsely claiming a degree orother credential from a legitimate institution or obtaining acounterfeit degree from a diploma mill. Diploma mills generallysell credentials and transcripts without requiring either any workor the appropriate amount of work typically required for suchacademic achievement. Some degrees can be purchased for asEnrollmentlittle as 100.Academic fraud is not a new problem. In recent years, thisissue has grown rapidly. Sophisticated technology, the Internet,and legitimate-looking advertisements appearing in majornews outlets have made it easier to both sell and obtain falsecredentials, such as high school, bachelor’s and even doctoratedegrees.According to the New York Times, there are 3,300 diploma millsselling degrees to anyone willing to pay. More than 50,000 Ph.Ds.are purchased from diploma mills every year — which surprisinglyexceeds the quantity legitimately awarded. And some diplomamill names are deceptively similar to those of legitimate, oftenprestigious, institutions. For example, Columbiana, Barkley,and Mount Lincoln were successful diploma mills that usednames strikingly similar to real institutions.1 This sort of tacticbanks on the likelihood that people will see a familiar name andautomatically associate it with a legitimate institution. In actuality,the name masks a fraudulent operation.2

40%The percentage of Americans with college degrees has rapidlyincreased in the past several decades, fueled by employerexpectations that applicants should have, at minimum,postsecondary degrees. Meanwhile, rising education costs havemade obtaining postsecondary and graduate education difficultand too costly for many. As a result, the allure of obtainingcredentials (albeit false credentials) quickly and inexpensively canprove too good to resist.!60%Diploma mills are only part of the problem. Even those whodon’t buy fake degrees may falsify or exaggerate their resumes.In a survey conducted by, almost 60 percentof the nearly 2,200 hiring managers surveyed had caught a jobapplicant fabricating some part of his or her resume. According toCareerBuilder, employers found academic degree to be one of themost commonly falsified items on resumes.2In a recent CareerBuilder.comsurvey, nearly 60 percentof hiring managers reportedcatching fabrications on jobapplicants’ resumes.How Accurate Are Your Employees’Resumes?EnrollmentNot verifying your potential employees’ academic credentialscould be costly. Hiring employees who have lied on their resumesor committed academic fraud has wide ranging consequences,including higher turnover. According to various industry estimates,the cost to replace an employee ranges anywhere from 3,500 to 40,000, depending on the salary level. In addition to the financialimplications, negative consequences can include lost customersand revenue, exposure to theft and lawsuits, and public damageto your reputation. Such a loss of credibility can take years toovercome.Degree Attained40%Many organizations have learned the importance of verifyingemployees’ degrees the hard way.!60% A Manassas City, Virginia, principal resigned and lost histeaching license in 2014 after it was discovered that he falsifiedmost of his educational credentials, presenting himself ashaving college degrees he never earned.3Replacing an employee cancost anywhere from 3,500 to 40,000. In 2012, it was discovered that Scott Thompson, the then CEOof Yahoo, had not earned the computer science degree heclaimed, but instead had a degree in accounting.4 David Tovar, Walmart’s former vice president for corporatecommunications, stepped down in 2014 after it was discoveredthat he was never awarded the degree that he claimedhe received.5 Herbalife’s CEO, Gregory Probert, was forced to resign in 2008after it was revealed that he did not have the MBA he claimed.6xEligibilityEnrollment In 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported that J. TerrenceLanni, the former CEO of MGM Mirage, did not receive an MBAhe stated on his resume.73

ed40%!60%xEligibility5 CommonThings PeopleLie About On Resumes1. EducationEven the federal and some state governments have been victimsof academic fraud. A 2008 federal investigation of a diplomamill in Washington State found it had been used by 350 federalemployees.8 A 2015 investigation revealed that a high-rankingInterior Department federal employee had bought fake academictranscripts online. This employee had worked for the InteriorDepartment as the assistant director of the technology division ofthe Office of Law Enforcement and Security for over five years andhad high levels of access.9Theexamples are numerous and show that degree fraud canEnrollmenthappen to any employer. Verifying degrees helps ensure that youremployees have earned the credentials they claim. Furthermore, aspotential applicants hear of more and more organizations verifyingdegrees, they will be less likely to attempt fraud.2. Job title3. Compensation4. Reason for leaving last job5. Professional accomplishments40%!60%MoreEnrollmentthan 3 milliondegrees are verified usingDegreeVerify each year.Taking ActionThe FBI began investigating diploma mills both in America andabroad in the 1980s with Operation Diploma Scam (DIPSCAM).DIPSCAM obtained numerous warrants, indictments andconvictions and shut down 25 illegal diploma mills. Unfortunately,DIPSCAM ended in the early 90s after the lead investigator retiredfrom the FBI. Since then, the problem has grown steadily becauseof a lack of further investigation and advances in technology.Tracking down operators who run diploma mills and people whopurchase fake degrees is challenging. Prosecuting them is evenharder. That’s because defining a diploma mill is problematic.Although it is generally agreed that diploma mills sell educationalcredentials while requiring little or no academic work, there is nowidely accepted definition of what is considered an appropriateamount of work. Adding to the difficulty, many diploma millshave moved abroad where employers and regulators haveeven less power to stop them. For more than 10 years, Karachibased software company, Axact, widely considered to be aglobal diploma mill, operated at least 370 different degree andaccreditation mill sites until it was raided by Pakistan authorities.10The good news is that it is possible to combat the problem.Employers can carefully screen applicants and verify educationcredentials. Online education verification is one of the mostinexpensive, easiest, and fastest ways employers can avoid theconsequences associated with academic fraud.4

GraduationDegree AttainedThe Clearinghouse Your Partner in Academic Verification!DegreeVerify, from the National Student Clearinghouse,is the40%nation’s source for accurate degree data. More than 2,300 of the60%nation’s colleges and universities that award over 90 percent of allU.S. four-year college degrees participate in DegreeVerify. Becausenew institutions are added regularly, the number of degreesavailable for verification is continually growing.DegreeVerify schools representover 90% of all US collegedegrees.DegreeVerify is a Web-based service that makes educationalverifications so accessible and affordable that thousands ofemployers, recruiters, and background screening firms use itregularly, making it the preferred online degree verification servicein the U.S. By verifying academic credentials via DegreeVerify, youcan ensure your applicants and staff members are legitimatelyqualified and that they graduated from accredited institutions,eliminating concerns about diploma mills.xCertificationsPeople claiming fake degrees are like ticking time bombs:EligibilityEnrollmenteventuallythey will be exposed. The exposurecan come in theform of an embarrassing and costly situation, like the fraudconducted by Walmart’s vice president, or something even worse.Avoid a similar situation by proactively uncovering fraud usingDegreeVerify before any damage is done.For immediate, affordable degree verifications, or to learn moreabout any of the Clearinghouse’s Verification Services, If you perform frequent verifications,contact [email protected] to learn aboutour volume discounts.5

Sources1“A Rising Tide of Bogus Degrees.” The New York Times, May 20, 20152Grasz, J. “Fifty-eight Percent of Employers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume,According to a New CareerBuilder Survey.” CareerBuilder, August 7, 20143Shapiro, T. R. and Chandler, M. A. “Manassas principal resigns, loses teachinglicense after allegedly faking résumé.” The Washington Post, August 12, 20144Pepitone, J. “Yahoo confirms CEO is out after resume scandal.” CNNMoney,May 14, 20125Dudley, R. “Walmart Spokesman Said to Resign Over Resume Falsehood.”Bloomberg, September 16, 20146Restle, H. and Smith, J. “17 Successful executives who have lied on theirresumes.” Business Insider, July 15, 20157Winstein, K. J. and Audi, T. “MGM Mirage CEO to Resign Amid QuestionsAbout MBA.” The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 20088Schemo, D.J. “Diploma Mill Concerns Extend Beyond Fraud.” The New YorkTimes, June 29, 20089Waddel, K. “IG: A Fed with Fake Diplomas Worked at Interior for Five Years.”Government Executive, July 16, 201510Walsh, D. “Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact ReapsMillions.” New York Times, May 17, 20156

6 Sources 1 “A Rising Tide of Bogus Degrees.”The New York Times, May 20, 2015 2 Grasz, J. “Fifty-eight Percent of Employers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume, According to a New CareerBuilder Survey.” CareerBuilder, August 7, 2014 3 Shapiro, T. R. and Chandler, M. A. “Manassas principal resign