Many people do not realize that it is possible to use the internet to buy fake transcripts
. While there are reasons that people would want to purchase false transcript documents for legitimate reasons (i.e. those who collect fake documents
or intend to use the fake transcript for some kind of elaborate practical joke), it is far more likely that many who are looking to buy fake transcripts
do so for less than ethical reasons. For this reason, many universities will not accept transcripts directly from potential students--rather, they make the prospective students fill out a transcript release form that gives the university permission to obtain transcripts directly from the student's previous educational establishment.
One area in which diplomas and transcripts are particularly problematic is transcripts that are used by foreign students to obtain admission in American colleges and universities. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous workers in foreign colleges to provide diplomas provided by the prospective students to requesting American universities. Of course, this problem can also happen in American universities, but tighter regulation and control make the problem more of a concern for transcripts coming from overseas. The majority of such international fake diplomas and transcripts come from China and Nigeria.
Companies that set up a phony university that exists for the sole purpose of producing diplomas and transcripts (for an often substantial fee). Some of these programs will go so far as to provide fake letters of recommendation and even maintain a false telephone front end that "verifies" that the student with a diploma from the institution actually attended and graduated. There have been several high profile cases in recent years in which figures in positions of responsibility or public trust have been discovered to have claimed credentials. For this reason, these companies have found themselves coming under increased scrutiny and many of them have shut down, either voluntarily or otherwise.
Researchers who are investigating the problem of fake transcripts and diplomas from diploma mills have discovered some unsettling findings. Searches of popular online resume database services have turned up literally thousands of people who tout degrees from known bogus programs. Worse, many of these people currently hold positions such as high school principles, police officers, and even nuclear safety engineers! Clearly, having people in such positions of responsibility who do not have the proper qualifications is a disaster in waiting.
While some use the internet to buy transcripts and diplomas for legitimate reasons, far more use them for nefarious purposes. This is an ongoing and increasing problem, and one that is predicted to receive increasing attention as time progresses.