Online Diploma and Degree Mills

How Can You Identify Fake Online Colleges and Diploma Mills?

Diploma mills are bogus, dubious businesses posing as educational institutions. They claim to provide legitimate education, but only offer fake degrees and certificates that are not recognized by employers and accredited universities.

Diploma mills and degree mill colleges pose as legitimate colleges, universities and schools. However their only goal is to make money from innocent people and fraudsters (those individuals who wish to buy their credentials) by selling fake diplomas and transcripts.

Unfortunately, many innocent learners have fallen victim to these scams and have lost thousands of dollars-not to mention their valuable time-only to end up with a "diploma-like" piece of paper that is worth nothing. Therefore, if you are seeking an online education online through any college that claims to be legitimate, do your homework first, in order to be sure that you are enrolling in a credible online college.

Online diploma mills and degree mills sell all sorts of fake papers and transcripts, ranging from associate's degrees, certificates, and bachelor's degrees, all the way up to PhD degrees. Most often, these mills don't require the student to do any academic work, other than simply paying a fee to receive their chosen fake diploma.

In addition, know that any degree you receive from a college that is not accredited, will be a waste of money, because fake credentials will not be recognized by potential employers or valid educational institutions.

Accrediting organizations evaluate educational institutions and their programs to ensure that they conform to certain set standards - standards which address mission, goals and objectives, curriculum, faculty, students, administration, financial support, and physical resources and facilities. If you plan to enroll in an online college that is based in the United States, be sure that it has been accredited by a recognized U.S. accrediting organization such as, the U.S. Department of Education, or another recognized accrediting entity. Canadian and European institutions also have their own accrediting bodies.

It's unfortunate that the popularity of valid online schools and colleges has now given rise to diploma mills. If you're considering enrolling in any online education degree program, research the institution first to ensure that it is real and accredited.

How to Identify Fake Colleges and Diploma Mills

  • The name sounds similar to a well known or legitimate institution. Sometimes the name is misspelled to look like one of the really popular schools, colleges, or universities
  • They often don't mention any accreditation or an accrediting agency or list a fake accrediting agency
  • The address of the organization changes frequently. Other fake institutions insist on using a P.O. Box address
  • Their website looks fake with numerous spelling and grammatical errors
  • They entice students with last minute "good deals" and "too-good-to-be-true" offers
  • Most fake schools don't require any class attendance or the completion of homework, assignments, or exams
  • They provide no interaction with classmates, faculty or instructors
  • They do not require proof of previous degreed earned or adhere to stringent admission procedures
  • Course fees and tuition are charged per diploma/degree, and not on a per-credit basis
  • The degree can be completed within an unrealistically short period of time

These represent just a few of the tricks used by phony degree mills, and they're coming up with new tricks all the time. Some of their tactics are very hard to identify, since most of the activity takes place over the Internet, and some of the scammers shut down their websites when they get caught, only to reopen them under new names. Some phony institutions even move around, trying to scam people from one country to another.

The only safe bet is to thoroughly evaluate your online institution before you make a commitment. In order to protect yourself, verify the validity of the college or institution with the department of education and recognized accrediting bodies within the region.

Use the Following Checklist to Determine Whether an Online College or University is a Legitimate School or Just a Phony Diploma Mill:

  • Is the school accredited? If so, by what accrediting agency? and is the accrediting agency an official, recognized body?
  • Can the institutions' accreditation be verified with any of the several accrediting organizations? check the school against one of the recognized accrediting agencies to determine it's legitimacy.
  • Does the college or school have an established affiliation with another traditional, reputable college?
  • Research further on the web and read some college reviews to determine the school's legitimacy, and if possible speak with other students who have attended the same school
  • Check the bookstores and online college guides for more information on the courses offered by your prospective school
  • Check with the state where the school is located to confirm that it is licensed and authorized to operate in that state
  • Determine whether the college allows credits to be transferred from other institutions

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