Higher education minister Margaret Hodge has announced a clampdown on bogus degree scams, warning that "organisations claiming to be universities are ripping off thousands of students around the world".
Ms Hodge said the government was concerned that the reputation of UK universities was being damaged.
"Many of them charge between £500 and £2,000 for false degrees and there are about 50 or so of these organisations," she said.
She announced the launch of a campaign in coordination with US university regulators.
The campaign is centred on a website - www.dfes.gov.uk/recognisedukdegrees - that launches today. It will appear after any internet search for "UK degrees".
Trading Standards Officers have made several prosecutions against organisations operating in the United Kingdom, but the majority are based abroad.
The government move follows a THES report last week that unregulated US organisations were offering unaccredited degrees in the UK.