The global fake degree racket: HR warned to be vigilant

Accusations of a Pakistani company running a fake education empire highlight once again the need for HR practitioners to perform comprehensive background checks on potential employees.

The global fake degree racket: HR warned to be vigilant
A Pakistani company is under fire this after the New York Times this week claimed it was earning millions by selling fake degrees on a global scale.

Karachi-based company Axect was said to hire actors promoting fake universities – claims which were backed up the Times with quotes from former employees and extensive analysis off more than 370 websites.

“According to former insiders, company records and a detailed analysis of its websites, Axact’s main business has been to take the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees and turn it into an Internet-era scheme on a global scale,” the Times article said.

Axect has hit out at the allegations, damning them as "baseless, substandard, maligning, defamatory, and based on false accusations" on its website.

The case provides yet another incentive for HR practitioners around the world to sit up and take note of education providers or qualifications listed on the CVs of job applicants.

The legitimacy of tertiary degrees has recently been on the radar of the globe's HR practitioners, following the case of Nisha Padmanbhan, who the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) was forced to investigate after it was revealed she purportedly held a Master’s degree from Southern Pacific University – an online-based and unaccredited education provider which has been slammed as a  “fake” and a “diploma mill”.

Earlier this month, the results of a study by screening analytics company First Advantage showed that in Asia Pacific, 20% of CV discrepancies related to education, in three common areas: graduation dates with a variance of more than six months; graduation dates with a variance of less than six months; as well as unconfirmed or unverifiable degrees.

With the issue firmly in the spotlight, last week Manpower Minister Lim Swee Saystated that those who provide forged educational documents will be barred for life from working in Singapore.

But, he noted, the primary responsibility to ensure the authenticity and quality of the academic qualifications of the foreigners they wish to hire lay ultimately with the employer.

So what can HR professionals do?

Firstly, check the authenticity of the education provider in question. You can also check out the ranking of the university globally here.

To confirm the applicant has a qualification from the institution, contact the register of the school in question and provide the person’s name and degree in order to receive confirmation.

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