Education Verification | Degree Fraud
Hiring the right employee has become very tactful in today's world with intelligent technology. Employers should check prospective candidate's professional qualifications before hiring them. People can easily fraud their educational credentials. Not doing education verification of the employee might lead to severe consequences in the long run for the organisation.
We have put together information on degree fraud for all to understand it better and for employers to be more vigilant while recruiting.
Hiring a wrong candidate also means that the right deserving one is ignored.
What is a degree fraud?
In degree fraud, people try to misrepresent their qualifications and achievements. They make alterations to their degrees to exaggerate their grades or work experience. It is a crime of fraud and forgery to mishandle with qualifications and falsifying the achievements.
These degrees' alterations might seem insignificant but can lead to severe consequences. Employers should perform educational qualifications on all prospective employees to have a solid, trustworthy organisation. This enables all employees to perform the jobs they are meant for, as per their ability and qualifications. The organisation's trust is built on its employees, and if they get to hire the wrong candidate because of fake certifications, it can severely hamper companies reputation.
The right candidate with the correct job profile, work experience, and relevant degree with appropriate knowledge can benefit the organisation. Hiring the wrong candidate without proper verifications can lead to internal fraud within the company and some severe ones. The company is putting out its entire reputation at stake by doing so.
How false degree affects employers?
Hiring a knowledgeable candidate is an investment for the company. Employing the wrong candidate with false educational qualifications exposes the company to many possible frauds. Listed below are some of the threats because of degree fraud:
Unnecessary cost to the company:
A company invests so much time and money to train its employees. If the wrong candidate is hired, the cost gets doubled, and fraud chances highly increase.
Employing a person with no knowledge or false degree is a breach of duty of care in the professional world. The company might also have to go through a legal process.
A person with poor knowledge can only do much for the company. Their work will be of poor quality and low productivity.
It is very likely that a person with false certifications will not have adequate knowledge for the job. He might end up with a bad customer experience, putting companies reputation at compromise.
An easy target for fraud:
A false candidate will never be liable for company policies, exposing the company to internal and external frauds.
Unhealthy work environment:
The person who has faked his degree qualifications might not also be attentive and loyal to his job. Such people can quickly bring down the morale of the team.
More wrong candidates:
If others find out the company’s hiring policy is not firm, many more people will try to fake their certifications and get a job. The company might lose all its business and trust built over the years eventually.
Types of degree fraud
There are 3 types of degree fraud
Bogus University and Degree Mills
These universities cheat people by providing authentic-looking certificates. These bogus degrees have no authentication. Their sole purpose is to earn money through fraud services. With the current innovative technology, this fraud is easy to perform and extremely hard to detect.
Fake Certificate Websites
It is illegal to mock original certifications for personal interest. Many websites use the template of actual certificates and very smartly alter the details. This is a clear violation of the patent and trademark of universities.
Sometimes an individual himself mimics his qualifications to create better opportunities for himself. This is a clear crime case, but these changes are tough to identify. Employers thus need to always verify educational qualifications or the claimed credentials through the university issuing the degree or HEDD.
Students at universities are given essays to write. At times, some students get this done by another person. When employed by companies, such students can cause low productivity because of less knowledge of their subject. Not hiring the right candidate can be very tiring for the organisation, as too much time goes into training and still might not be able to perform the job as per standard.
Is degree fraud a crime?
Degree crimes are difficult to identify, but they have harsh penalties. The outcomes fall under fraud, forgery, trademark, and patent legislation allegations.
Under the Fraud Act 2006, Section 2, a person can be prosecuted or imprisoned for 10 years if found guilty of doing alterations with degrees and certificates for personal interest.
Under Section 7, again a person, can be sentenced to a 10-year jail term if found guilty of providing bogus certificates.
Under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, a person is accountable for provoking another individual to accept the false instrument as genuine.
What can employers do to prevent degree fraud?
Degree frauds happen when people are not very vigilant, as these are hard to identify. Employers must always verify employee credentials to avoid this and always hire the right candidate.
Few solutions to deal with degree fraud are mentioned below
Hedd is a centralised system for degree verification connecting employers, agencies, universities, embassies, and councils. In the UK, it is the official degree fraud reporting service, which can report and analyse frauds. Employers can always head to Hedd database to verify the names of institutes the candidate claims to have graduated.
Refer to records
UK government has recognised and approved certain universities to issue degrees. The Department of education in the UK retain a list of all accepted bodies, and The Office for Students has a register of all recognisable courses provided by them. Employers can always consult Hedd for any confusion over degree verifications.
Precise verification screening
Every company should make policies of educational verification and inform all candidates about the same. The credentials must be verified against each record. If all employers include this in their recruitment policy and thoroughly follow it, degree fraud would never happen. Complygate urges employers to make degree verification an initial step of their recruitment process. This will help them employ candid candidates.