As HEDD becomes the UK’s trusted brand for degree verification we’re getting almost daily reports of bogus institutions.
The latest one to come to our attention is the University of Wolverhamton in Ireland* through a certificate and transcript we were asked to verify. The certificate invites you to verify the candidate through their website www.wolverhamton.com. Hopefully by the time you read this, the site will still be there**. Generally speaking, once ‘outed’, the sites disappear. On the surface, the site looks pretty plausible, but closer examination reveals a rash of spelling mistakes – ‘corses’ is the most obvious example. References to campuses in England also points to a lack of understanding of basic UK geography.
To make it look credible the site owners have copied pages from legitimate UK university websites – clearly breaching copyright. Even the fake certificate we have carries the name and signature of a real UK Registrar from another valid university – we have let them know that their identify has been stolen.
Fraudsters are backing up their fake certificates with convincing transcripts and letters of reference in the hope that employers won’t need to verify with the named awarding body if they have lots of supporting documents. A two minute Google check can reveal that addresses are false, referees don’t exist, and, if the fake qualifications are old, the website has disappeared.
*Did you spot the missing P? We nearly missed it too
** If you’re using Internet Explorer the site has now been reported as ‘unsafe’