Let’s revisit the disturbing reality of Diploma Mills. Unfortunately, they are still a factor to be dealt with and Employers need to be aware of the reality that there might be candidates out there who are attempting to promote themselves as college graduates when, in fact, they are frauds. Be certain of this, the Diploma Mills are here to stay.
It is a sad thing when an unsuspecting applicant looks for an on-line university and is lured in by the promise of a college degree for a little life experience and some cash. More often, however, applicants consciously make the decision to take a shortcut to their degree of choice and buy it instead or studying for and earning it.
Two of the most notorious Diploma Mills are Belford University and Almeda University. Both claim accreditation from multiple agencies, none of whom are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
As an experiment, you can do an advanced sort on LinkedIn and find members by the hundreds who have claimed degrees from these two bogus universities. A quick search of Almeda* University gave me 4508 hits and Belford** had 6959 hits – considerably larger numbers than reported in 2013. These hits were spread out in fields such as Administration, Sales, Engineering, IT, Operations, H.R., Consulting, and Finance. The holders of these degrees claimed titles such as VP, CXO, Owner and Director.
CIC is your first line of defense against fraudulent degrees. We have actively helped Employers expose applicants who have claimed to have degrees ranging from High School Diplomas to PhD’s. This phenomenon seems to fade and then resurge and lately we have seen a huge resurgence.
The moral of this story is that Diploma Mills are out there. They are active and ever changing. Be aware of them and let CIC help guide you through the Education Verification process for your applicants.
** September 2012 - A Michigan Court fined Belford and its associates, operating out of Pakistan according to court documents, $22.7 million dollars for issuing fake degrees and diplomas at the college and high school levels and for issuing life experience degrees in the USA without proper accreditation.
Carolyn Klemett is the coordinator of our Pre-employment Screening Services at Corporate Intelligence Consultants. For more information about this article, please contact our offices at 1.800.573.2201 / 419.874.2201.