Isn’t it time to shut down the fake credentials industry?

Source: Same Day Diplomas

Below are a famous Alexis de Tocqueville quote to kick off my latest University World News essay and the first three paragraphs. (My original title was Fake Education Credentials: Wink, Nod, Buy & Sell, which was probably changed for legal reasons.) If you’re intrigued, read the article in its entirety. In this era of fake news, it’s fitting that the fake credentials industry is booming in nations of hustlers.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

Source: University World News (mage: iStock)

As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?

-Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835

I recently stumbled upon a company that sells faux education credentials because one of its representatives is a loyal follower of my blog An International Educator in Viet Nam. Since I have written a lot about rogue providers (unaccredited educational institutions) and diploma mills, most based in the US, maybe s/he wants to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the “market” outside of the US, where the company is based. Yes, even useful, legitimate information can be misused, including for the fake credentials industry.

Same Day Diplomas, whose taglines are Fast Diplomas, Transcripts and Certificates – Trusted Since 2001 and The best in novelty certificates, replacement diplomas, transcripts, and props since 2001, offers a wide selection of printed documents, including GED, high school, college and university diplomas and transcripts, plus certificates, e.g., TAFE, GCSE, DELTA, CELTA, TESOL, IELTS. 

6 thoughts on “Isn’t it time to shut down the fake credentials industry?

  1. I liked this LinkedIn post by Greg Schuckman:

    Greg Schuckman • Government Relations Expert l Research Advocate l Higher Education Policy & Governance l Gubernatorial Appointee l Disability Advocacy6

    Mark Ashwill wrote a fascinating article in University World News about the fake #diploma industry that exists in the United States and the steps that individual institutions (and perhaps state systems) can take to disallow their use (see email address below!):

    As Mark explains how some of the disclaimers work by these firms:

    “We will not produce any sort of letter or envelope that suggests that the document supplied is legitimate.” There’s also this opt-out, of which very few institutions and organisations seem to be aware: “Administrators can email us at to request we do not print their learning institution’s name. Once this request is received, we will gladly respect your wishes.”

    He notes that a section entitled ‘Schools or Institutions we do not produce for’ contains a very short list, including Florida Atlantic University, George Mason University, Loyola Marymount University, IELTS and any institutions in Connecticut or Oregon, meaning most institutions have no idea that their diplomas are being printed and sold. This ignorance is good for business.

    While sending an email to the firm instructing them to disallow the use of your college or university for their production of fake diplomas is trying to plug a dam, it’s a start.

    #highereducation #highered SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers Association) Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Maryland Higher Education Commission #universities #collegesanduniversities #university Education Commission of the States

  2. Mark, this same problem also plagues the “profession certification” industry as well, with PMI’s Project Management Institute (PMI) being one of the most egregious.

    Here is 10+ years worth of research I have been publishing on this topic and also being based in SE Asia (Jakarta) I am happy to support your efforts to identify and eliminate these scams.

    Click to access pmwj89-Jan2020-Giammalvo-pm-certification-benchmarking-research-2020-Update.pdf

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta

  3. Thank you, Paul. It’s like playing whac-a-mole. However, there are concrete steps that institutions can take to prevent these companies from selling fake diplomas and certificates with their good names on them.


  4. Feedback from a colleague in Norway:

    Dear Mark,

    Many thanks for your article on the fake credentials industry.

    I am writing for Norway where I am a professor emeritus at Oslo Metropolitan University.
    The last time I sat on a committee evaluating candidates for a position here I discovered that 2 out of the 6 finalists were in possession of fake transcripts and fake diplomas from American and Australian universities.
    We discovered that both finalists could hardly express themselves in English even though they had claimed to have master degrees. One claimed two master degrees from the US.

    A very horrible illustration of one of those profiting from fake degrees came out of the trail of Ander Behring Breivik -the racist fanatic who first blew up the building housing the central administration of the Norwegian government (killing 8) and then went on to kill 69 persons (almost all youngsters) at an island encampment of the youth wing of the Norwegian Labour Party.

    During the police investigation aimed at discovering where Breivik got the funds for the explosives and weapons he used to carry out his attack, it was found that Breivik ran his own fake credentials business. He was in Oslo while his forger was a young man in India. Breivik bragged that he had become a millionaire thanks to the fees he received from all over the world for his false transcripts and diplomas (a millionaire in Norwegian kroner is equivalent to 100,000 US dollars). He told the police he closed down his business after he had suspected that the FBI was investigating him after some US universities had sent in reports after discovering counterfeit diplomas and transcripts.

    The courts in Norway I strongly suspect have been influenced by the publicity about Breivik’s business. A few months ago, they sentenced one man to three years in prison after discovering his diploma and transcript from a European medical school were fakes.

    Also a Norwegian politician was sentenced to prison for more than one year after it was found that all of her academic credentials were faked. She was a high school dropout but had diplomas from a nursing school at a Swedish university and to top it off she had diplomas indicating that
    she had a Bachelor and Master (with honours!!!) from LSE – the London School of Economics. She was also sentenced to reimburse the state for the positions she had gotten on the basis of the fake documents. She had even gotten a position as the government officials charged with examining the credentials of nurses coming to Norway from other countries!!!

    Last year, in checking the background of a woman claiming to have a Master degree from LSE, I was in contact with the LSE registrar. It turned out that her degree was genuine but the registrar told that counterfeit diplomas and transcripts were a constant and growing problem for his school

    Again many thanks for turning the spotlight on this criminal enterprise.

    Mike Seltzer

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