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Not Your ‘Run of the Mill’ Risk: Beware of Diploma Mills

In the information age, educational credentials are more important than ever when it comes to evaluating candidates. Yet, just as counterfeiters and swindlers have churned out fake money, artwork, and artifacts, so too are diploma mills selling fake educational credentials to those desperate for a quick and easy boost to their resume.

What does all this mean for employers? Today, hiring managers are forced to navigate the murky waters of a hiring landscape that is muddied by the presence of diploma mills in the United States and around the world. Mistakes in doing so can result in employees that are patently unqualified for the work they were hired to do. As a result, employers become saddled with the costs of those employees’ mistakes and the subsequent pressure to rehire for their positions.


While the Federal Trade Commission has released a list of warning signs on the topic of diploma mills and has taken regulatory actions, as well, these (non) “institutions” attempt to slip by with names and, occasionally, Internet domain information that are similar to legitimate academic institutions. Furthermore, no level of the education system is immune to the presence of these diploma mills, as there are fake degrees peddled for everything from high school to college to graduate-level degrees. In fact, many of the most high-profile instances of diploma mill fraud involve job applicants who claimed to have a professional degree. In an era when its hard to be a job applicant without a high school degree, diploma mills swoop in with the false promise of an easy solution.


The downstream consequences of diploma mills, of course, are realized by employers who convert the wrong applicants into employees. Depending on the role being filled and the industry it is in, employees with fake degrees can expose employers to serious risks and liability concerns. Across the board, the negative consequences of bringing on an employee with fraudulent educational credentials can stem from the wasted time onboarding and training them, the money it takes to rehire, and the potential for the employee to make mistakes linked to the absence of a real educational credential. High-quality providers of pre-employment screening solutions, like EagleScreen, know how to identify cases of fraudulent educational credentials. Ultimately, these verification solutions save our clients time and money by keeping them safe from diploma mill scams.

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