Coventry became the 21st university to go live on HEDD last week following Aston the week before. There is further evidence that HEDD is now well-established in the sector with the first fake HEDD certificate appearing. It’s an interesting twist. Rather than create a certificate with its complicated watermarks and holograms, just produce a verification check. What could go wrong?
First of all, HEDD is a secure, online-only system – we don’t issue certificates. As soon as something is committed to paper it can be tampered with.
It also appears to verify a candidate from a university that doesn’t use HEDD for its verifications yet.
It refers to the HEDD website at www.HEDD.ac – our old friend the Ascension Islands domain, designed to mimic our .ac.uk academic sites and conveniently ‘undergoing maintenance’ if you try to go there.
There’s not even the most rudimentary effort to reproduce the HEDD logo.
More worrying is that the HEDD ‘certificate’ has been certified as genuine by a real Notary Public in London at a cost of around £80.
We see a lot of scanned certificates countersigned by notaries attesting to having checked the original, but how can we be sure that they do it with any degree of rigour? A Google search would have taken them to the real HEDD website and exposed the truth in seconds.
Our HEDDhelp team spoke to the Notary who hung up very quickly when we challenged him about signing a fraudulent certificate.
We’ll be checking up on the owner of the Ascension Islands HEDD domain and reporting the Notary to his professional body.