For years, background checks on potential employees have been helpful in weeding out dishonest applicants. Criminal records, credit histories, and verification of college degrees have been fair game for these background checks. Not every company has taken advantage of the information available through background checks, but those who do have benefited greatly.
Yet today’s background check has been changing as technology creates more opportunities for applicants to falsify their backgrounds. Criminal enterprises dedicated to creating fake educational credentials are making millions of dollars off people who want to enhance their resumes.
Diploma mills and degree mills “award” diplomas and degrees with little to no work on the part of the “student.” Often the student simply pays a fee and is given documentation that is supposed to represent a college degree ranging from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate.
In other cases, a diploma mill will require some academic work on the part of the student, but the “school” is either not accredited (certified as a legitimate academic institution) or the work required is far below what would be expected in an authentic educational program.
While potential employees may have more access to fake credentials thanks to modern technology, employers also have more tools available to them to determine that the credentials are not authentic. Employers can and should scour the Internet to verify the legitimacy of diplomas and the alleged schools that award them.
Employers get stung by these diploma mills when they don’t do their own homework. Degrees from unaccredited schools should be disregarded by management. Also, programs that offer “students” credit for “life experience” rather than actual academic work should be disregarded by the prospective employer.
Companies providing background checking services to employers are a good option when trying to verify credentials. Some of these background checkers have significant experience in uncovering diploma mills, and often have lists of bogus institutions at their fingertips. They also have the resources to look into names of supposed academic institutions that they’ve never heard of before.
The key is in verification. If companies don’t even take the time to attempt verification of diplomas and other credentials, the falsification of resumes will continue to thrive. Employers are encouraged to take steps to confirm the data of job applicants, and hopefully this action will help reduce the proliferation of fake diplomas.