Resume Fraud – Fake Educational Qualifications

Being a HR professional in today’s business environment is not easy. Along with other challenges that come their way, the one at the core of their responsibilities is staffing. Finding the right person (with the right qualifications, skills and experience), to fill a vacancy in quick time, is always a tough ask.

A basic element of every job application is education. Upon this is built a person’s professional profile. It is here that a major portion of the resume fraud occurs. Studies have shown 41% of job applicants are untruthful about their educational achievements. Another survey reveals that 20% of applicants actually concocted fake degrees. Many of these fraudulent degrees were manufactured and supplied by “diploma factories.”

A Google search will bring up thousands of sites that openly advertise their wares. These suppliers offer phony (but real looking) diplomas and degrees. They will doctor the ‘genuine’ fake degree of any institution with dates and period of study to buyer’s requirements. They will also provide everything including grades in specific subjects.

Research done in the US brought up over 300 sites. They are making good money because the fake degree industry is estimated to have made over $500 million in the last year. The University Grants Commission (UGC), India has a list of 21 fake universities. That means that there are a lot of unqualified people out there.

Diploma Mills are another threat area. The UGC has a list of ‘known’ diploma mills. A cursory check on the Internet will reveal many, many more. Guess-estimates abound (both in India and abroad) but no one has an exact number on this whole phenomenon. Such is the brazenness of many of these “diploma mills” they now provide toll-free phone numbers should prospective employers call to verify and check the degrees of their clients.

In India the education verification process is complicated by the sheer number of universities that exist in the country. There are 504 universities of all dispensations – including state, private, central and deemed universities. In this scenario figuring out whether a job applicant’s degree is genuine is a major headache for any HR executive.

Genuine qualifications are the basic building blocks for job aspirants. No company can afford to have inadequately qualified employees. They are a risk to the well-being, sustainability and success of the company. Thorough and robust background screening of employees, both existing and prospective, is a major pre-requisite for any business.

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