A recent background check undertaken by PeopleCheck on a CFO within the Professional Services industry involved a verification of their qualification. The candidate provided a degree certificate which indicated that they had completed their Business Administration degree through a university in the United States; however, when our Research Specialists commenced enquiries, we discovered that said university lacked an online presence. Not a good sign!
After undertaking extensive research, a website was located for the university under an alternate name; however, the only available page on the website was an online form which provided the option to verify qualifications issued by the university for a rather significant fee. By this point, it was becoming evident that we were likely dealing with a Degree Mill! Based on our thorough research, and searches of several resources (including a database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutes and Programs facilitated by the US Department of Education), PeopleCheck was able to conclude that the university does not, and never has, operated as an accredited organisation.
This case highlights the importance of verifying the details of qualifications directly with the issuing organisation rather than taking degree certificates and transcripts at face value – even if they do look authentic! It also highlights the importance of this verification only being undertaken directly with the institute or via accredited online verification tools, as many Degree Mills now offer online verification as part of their service and efforts to fool even the potential employer that is conscious to validate degrees for their employees.