Graduation selfies ‘aiding degree certificate conmen’

BIS-appointed anti-fraud agency says criminals could use photos to access latest designs

July 5, 2016
Graduation selfie

Students who include their degree certificates in their graduation selfies have been warned that they could be unwittingly aiding fraudsters.

Prospects, which has been appointed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to clamp down on bogus higher education institutions, said that sellers of fake qualifications could use photos posted online to copy the latest certificate designs.

Universities have been warned that they could be making the situation worse by retweeting photos that have been posted on Twitter.

Jayne Rowley, director of Prospects’ Higher Education Degree Datacheck service, said logos, signatures, stamps, holograms and wording could be easily copied on to fake certificates and passed off as genuine.

“Each year we see thousands of graduation selfies innocently tweeted by students and retweeted by their universities,” Ms Rowley said. “Added to the eternal gallery of images online, they give anyone in the business of counterfeit degree certificates the latest designs.

“We’re contacting university social media teams to advise them not to include certificates in their photo tweets and to advise their students the same.”

Ms Rowley added: “Websites selling genuine-looking certificates for a few pounds rely on getting access to real certificates for their fakes to pass muster with recruiters.

“None of us would upload a copy of our passport or driving licence, nor give out our bank details. We should regard our degree certificates as precious and private information to be guarded.”

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together