‘Diplomamakers’- A Case Study of Fake Diplomas
The website is illegal because of its involvement in marketing of fake degrees and fraudulent transcripts. Furthermore, the production of unauthorized university degrees and transcripts represents an academic crime committed by both the diploma mills and their customers. The presentation in the video explains how it is relatively easier for anyone to obtain fake degrees and transcripts for purposes of seeking employment. As a multi-million dollar business, fake diploma online vendors such as Diplomamakers.com are involved in the production of unconventional university degrees and transcripts from thousands of actual universities and colleges at relatively affordable prices (NewsLi, 2012).
With the increased emphasis on college education, millions of job seekers with no college diploma or degree are forced to utilize the service of diploma mill sites such as diplomamakers.com to acquire academic documents for employment purposes. On explaining about whom they are, the site tries to differentiate itself from other diploma mill sites stating its commitment to quality, quick turnaround, fair pricing, and outstanding customer service as key marketing components to reach the target market (Diploma Makers, 2013). These fake degree websites are able to provide both new and replacement diplomas from virtually every university in the United States; however, they remain illegal.
The Ethical Dilemma
The ethical problem emanates from both the fake degree online vendors and the customers engaged in the purchase of these illegal academic documents. Although the site tries to justify its potential to help millions of job seekers locked out of the employment due to lack of college diplomas, it contributes to the increase in unqualified, incompetent, and highly fragile labor market. It is necessary to mention that academic documents such as degrees and transcripts are crucial in defining the professional role of an employee to handle given duties or responsibilities in the organization. In the event potential employment candidates do not possess such professional capabilities, it may prove very difficult to address a variety of workplace duties requiring technical or professional input. Therefore, the undercover production of unauthorized degrees and fake transcripts by these websites is morally wrong since it contributes to unbaked workforce, incapable to address the changing realities in the modern organizational environment.
On the other hand, individuals who purchase degrees and transcripts from online diploma mills also commit a moral offense, which compromises their integrity and competence. In the modern labor market, having a bachelor’s degree is vital to enable an individual to get into better paying job opportunities. However, the process of getting such a degree requires many years of sacrifice and academic commitment through the formal educational system. Due to lack of proper qualifications, financial difficulties, or other structural issues, some may opt to acquire a fake degree without the bother and expense of actually attending college. However, the lack of capacity to use the formal approach to achieve such credentials does not justify their involvement in the fake degree business.
While these degrees may make it possible for the applicant to land a job position in a lucrative company, fulfilling the responsibilities, and duties of the job with no prior knowledge and experience can be quite challenging (Gollin, 2003). This form of deception may not only compromise the employee’s performance, but also the overall production of the firm, particularly when the individual with fake documents occupies a top managerial position. Recent statistics by the Government Accountability Office estimates that more than 100,000 federal employees posses at least one fake academic document. This problem affects nearly all professional areas including education, business, medicine, law, and government. The high number of medical practitioners with fake degrees in the United States contributes to the high number of preventable deaths in both public and private medical facilities. The possibility of public scandal regarding the large number of individuals with fake degrees can have devastating effects on business, and can result in huge financial liability if a complainant can prove damages.
Steps by HRM to Prevent This Fraud
Human resource departments are required to adopt and implement efficient verification systems to curb employing people with disputable academic records. With the increasing consumerism of fake degrees, educational fraud has become one of the major challenges in the modern labor market. Before accepting a hardcopy diploma asproof of degree, screening must be done cautiously to avoid hiring the wrong candidates. When presented with physical, educational documents, employers should make inquiries or fax a copy to the institution to confirm its authenticity. Faxing the copies of degrees provided by the applicant to schools and colleges can offer an efficient way to verify whether the degree is a fake.
The employers can also perform substantive research on government websites and other relevant sources to establish the lists of schools and colleges with legitimate accreditation. This can help to minimize the chances of hiring applicants with fake degrees from not just diploma mill websites, but also from unaccredited universities. While the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is the umbrella body mandated with the issuing and accreditation of all academic qualification documents in the United States, proliferation of fake agencies has hindered efforts to curb this fraud (Counterfeit Degrees, 2013). Therefore, making sure that the applicant graduated from the school and received the degree is the first step to identify whether the given degree represents authentic educational accomplishments. It is also important not to confuse fake colleges with genuine distance learning opportunities. In some cases, the employer may ask the applicant to select schools for verification. This helps to redefine the value of integrity and honest as pertinent requirements for any job. Taking adequate time to verify credentials is vital, particularly for managerial positions.
Diploma mill degrees have helped many people, otherwise less qualified to take the easy route to a better job or gain more financial returns. Compared to legitimate college degrees, which take many months or years of study, fake degrees are easily accessible within a minimum period less than 24hours. They are also very affordable, with a college diploma from the Tarleton State University (MBA) with transcripts going for just US$254 for the whole package. Therefore, I may put it as openly unfair to give a job opportunity to the applicant with a fake degree based on their lack of any substantial investment in academic knowledge and experience (Diploma Makers, 2013).
Compared to a fresh graduate from an accredited university, the applicant with an unauthorized degree is less competent, less knowledgeable, and may lack the professional skills to deliver on various technical tasks. This practice has contributed to the high rates of unemployment among qualified graduates―a problem likely to trigger brain drain and overall reduced performance of employees. Sustainable measures to curb this academic misdemeanor can only succeed if all the stakeholders, including learning institutions, accreditation agencies, law enforcement and employers work together to strengthen the verification process.
Counterfeit Degrees, (2013). The Truth About Diploma Mills and Fake Degrees. Retrieved on
Diploma Makers, (2013). Testimonials. Retrieved on 06/02/2014 from:
Gollin, G., (2003).Unconventional University Diplomas from Online Vendors: Buying a Ph.D.
From a University, That Doesn’t Exist. Retrieved on 06/02/2014 from:
NewsLi, (2012).Billion Dollar Industry: Fake Diplomas and Business Degrees. Retrieved on