Steps are being taken to see if five Irish companies calling themselves universities can be deregistered by the Companies Registration Office in Dublin.
Discussions have taken place between the Department of Education and Science and the CRO while officials review legislation to see if it can be used to prevent unaccredited institutions from marketing themselves abroad as universities.
The five are the Dublin Metropolitan University, Irish International University of Europa (IIUE), European University of Ireland, Irish University Business School and Warnborough University.
The vice-chancellor of Dublin Metropolitan University is Desmond Fleming, who claims to be the 17th Baronet of Killan. But Hugh Prescott, one of the editors of Burke's Peerage , said the title was not genuine.
The Irish International University of Europa has an elaborate website and claims to be approved by the European Recognition Council of Ireland, which has no standing in the academic community.
The Irish Embassy in Malaysia said the IIUE was sullying the name of Irish education in that country.
The institution claims to have a bridging campus in Ireland called the Dublin European Institute - which is the same name used by University College Dublin for one of its centres. UCD solicitors have written to the IIUE asking it to drop the name.
The DES is also investigating West Coast University, which claims to be a virtual university with an office in Dublin.
It has also alerted several Irish institutions that the University of New Castle has listed them as authorised agents. The university claims to get its awards from the Accreditation Council for Higher Education, based in the Pacific islands of Wallis and Futuna.