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Understanding International Law on the Diploma Mill

Laws Are Flimsy to Non-Existent

Diploma mills are not exclusive to the United States. The business is rampant in many parts of the world and the laws even more cloudy and non-existent.

Are International Diploma Mills a Big Problem?

As more and more diploma mills that have done business in the U.S. are run off, the likelihood becomes greater that such businesses will relocate to foreign soil. This is a growing concern. Whether it is a real fear is as yet unfounded, but the situation is likely. Outside the U.S. diploma mills and counterfeit organizations already pose a problem.

Fake Degrees Make International News

Google News is chock full of reports alleging instances of degree scandals and bogus professional credentials. A news story out of Australia documented the findings that a number of medical personnel were ill-trained to perform their jobs at a Queensland hospital, some even with fake medical school credentials. Like many other countries, Australia struggles just as energetically with immense shortages of medical personnel. Unfortunately there is a wellspring of candidates applying for jobs who have obtained inadequate training in foreign schools or have paid outright for phony medical diplomas and degrees.

According to the swarm of daily news reports it seems as though almost no country is outside the spectacle of falsified resumes:

Unchecked Counterfeit Credentials Include Visas and Other Personal Documents

In the international realm, as unchecked as the practice of fake degrees, is it is not without its fear and loathing. The terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks were found to have falsified documents. This is the same type of technology employed by degree counterfeiters, and in some instances the two businesses go hand in hand. The Canadian counterfeiting ring mentioned above also sold hundreds of fake visas, passports, and other personal identification documentation, along with the phony university paraphernalia. Most unnerving is the sophistication of replication.

Criminal Incentive

The apparent ubiquity of fake university degrees from all over the globe means that U.S. officials are even more confounded. While the Internet provides a global forum essentially dedicated to free speech, it also offers challenges to the control of illicit goods and services, like phony university degrees. It means that each state, upon whose head it falls to design the legal dragnet, must work more tenaciously than the criminals.

The incentive of the criminals? Billions and billions of dollars in annual revenue.

Best Advice: Steer Clear of Flimsy Foreign Degrees

The U.S. Department of Education warns students to beware international degree granting institutions without first checking them out. This means assuring they have been accredited by a real agency and are recognized within the U.S. But these are just warnings. Little can be done to regulate the dealings of international businesses by the federal government. There are reports that some diploma mills that operate within the U.S. are “accredited” by foreign agencies. How do you even begin to check the veracity of the institutions? According to most sources, you don’t; you steer clear.

Individual states can vigorously prosecute individuals caught using fake degrees to get a leg up. But someone must catch them first.

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