Diploma Mills In The United States – The Cost Is Too High To U.S. Tax Payers And National Security

Robert Capwell

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Diploma Mill Balloon resized 600According to the former head of the FBI’s “Dipscam” taskforce whose goal was to prosecute owners of diploma mills, roughly five percent of the buyers of fake degrees were federal employees and another five percent were state government workers.  Although this is not a precise figure but a reasonable estimate based on diploma mill experts, inside sources from the largest diploma mill scam in the United States, online job boards, testimony from Congressional Hearings and data compiled by the U.S. Justice Department, this estimate certainly has a lot of merit and should make all Americans think twice about the toll that diploma mills play on the U.S.

At the expense of U.S. Tax Payers, fake diplomas are often used by federal and state job applicants to obtain a higher pay grade upon application, or even used to obtain undeserved pay raises during their employment.  For many positions, additional education credentials can equate to more dollars.  Applicants/Employees can complete a quick application and pay a nominal fee to obtain a fake degree, and with little to no effort could receive a pay-raise worth thousands per year, and all at the expense of U.S. Tax Payers. 

This deceptive practice is not just used to gain monetary advantages for federal and state jobs; however, used around the world for applicants to look more attractive on paper.  Especially in a down economy when the job market is tight and employers are being flooded with applications for fewer jobs, more and more applicants use deceptive and even fraudulent education credentials to separate themselves from other desirable candidates.

According to a 2011 Report released by Accredibase, there are 1,008 diploma mills operating or claiming to operate in the United States.  This number is a 20 percent increase over last year’s report.  The United States continues to be the leader in operating diploma mills.  California, Hawaii, Washington, Florida and Texas have the highest concentration of diploma mills, according to the report.

At Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI), we urge employers to verify the legitimacy of an applicant’s diploma and not to take a candidate’s or employee’s supplied education credentials at face value.  Fraud is on the rise and employers need to take a pro-active stance to properly vet their workforce.  EBI works on behalf of employers to properly verify a subject’s credentials.  Our experienced Verification Specialists take several steps to verify if a degree is from a legitimate institution.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility.  All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations.

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Robert Capwell

Posted By: Robert Capwell

EBI’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Mr. Robert E. Capwell, is considered one of the leading experts in the background screening industry with over 22 years of experience in the field. Mr. Capwell was a contributing author of the second edition of the ASIS Pre-employment Background Screening Guidelines and has written numerous articles and whitepapers for various publications including a periodic column on background screening for The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Online. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Human Resource Executive Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and several HR-related publications. Mr. Capwell speaks regularly to industry colleagues and HR Professionals both nationally and internationally.

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