Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Closing in on those with fake degrees

Read this piece in the Straits Times concerning the crackdown on fake degrees not only on the part of foreigners in Singapore but also among Singaporeans as well. One of the companies which does investigations into fake degrees, IntegraScreen, has an office in Penang. With the penchant for shortcuts to get degrees, I think they should be doing pretty well.

Hundreds with fake degrees nabbed 10 min
Both Singaporeans and foreigners found out while applying for government passes
By Sandra Davie, Senior Writer

OVER 400 foreigners were caught last year for lying to the Manpower Ministry in their work pass applications, a fourfold increase from the 97 cases in 2005.

MOM did not give a breakdown but the majority are believed to have used fake or forged qualifications in applying for employment passes which are for highly qualified people, or S-Passes for semi-skilled workers.

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority figures also point to a rising trend of workers using qualifications from degree mills, which are bogus universities that sell degrees for little or no study.

In the last two years, ICA caught 660 people, both foreigners and locals, lying in applications for immigration passes.

It could not give a breakdown but said many lied about their qualifications while trying to secure a dependent's pass, student visa or permanent resident pass.

Some of the locals caught had lied in the applications to be sponsors for foreigners seeking various immigration passes.

Both MOM and ICA said making false statements in the applications for work or immigration passes is a serious offence which carries heavy penalties, including fines and jail. Foreigners caught are also likely to be repatriated.

The ICA and MOM figures are just the tip of the iceberg, say job recruiters like People Worldwide Consulting and resume-screening companies such as IntegraScreen and First Advantage.

While most of those found out so far are foreigners, experts warn that more Singaporeans are also beefing up their resumes with fake or forged degrees.

One indication: The names of 36 people from Singapore showed up on a list of 9,612 people exposed in the United States recently for having bought fake diplomas and degrees.

First Advantage, a US-based company which checks claims made by job applicants, estimates that 12 per cent to 16 per cent of job seekers here are not entirely truthful in their CVs. Often, they inflate their academic achievements, current pay or responsibilities.

IntegraScreen, which does screening work for the immigration authorities in several countries in Asia and the Middle East, said about 5 per cent of the resumes they screen are found to be fake.

Its managing director, Mr John Baxter, said: 'The use of diploma mills is exploding as the Internet makes buying bogus degrees easier than ever before. More workers are buying these degrees because they're looking for an edge in the competitive job market in Singapore.'

Almost any degree, from aviation to zoology, can be purchased. All it takes is a credit card number and computer access.

Most degree mills charge between US$50 and US$5,000 (S$69 to S$6,900) for degrees at all levels. Often, buyers only have to fill up a form stating their work and life experiences and pay up.

Within a week, they are sent a professional-looking degree scroll and transcripts of fictional grades to show potential employers.

For an additional US$60, some degree mills offer laminated student identity cards, even though they have no physical campus.

Some even provide an after-sales service, with phone operators who will verify graduations and send transcripts to prospective employers who check.

Some go to the extent of offering fake degrees that look similar to those from such established universities as Harvard, Arizona State University or the University of Minnesota. Using high-tech equipment, the diplomas include watermarks and holographs.

The number of degree mills is not known, but Integra has compiled a list of over 500, with 90 per cent based in the US.

Mr John Bear, co-author of a book on degree mills, estimates that annual sales in fake degrees exceed US$500 million.

In Singapore, job recruiters say there are three groups of people who resort to using bogus degrees.

The first includes those who pay up to US$500 for undergraduate degrees and transcripts. These are non-graduates who use the fake qualifications to score a job, promotion or pay rise.

The second are consultants, trainers and private school lecturers who may have a first degree and some expertise in a particular area, but feel having a master's or PhD bolsters their credentials.

They are willing to pay between US$1,599 and US$10,000 for their bogus degrees.

The third group is made up of successful businessmen who fork out up to S$20,000 for honorary PhDs. They take care to indicate that these are honorary degrees, but like to be called 'Doctor'.

Mr David Leong, who heads PeopleWorldwide Consulting, said most people who buy their degrees are not victims, but intend to hoodwink employers or business clients.

'People who go online and order themselves a master's degree or PhD within a week know full well what they are doing,' he said.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tony, OKM,

Any comments?

http://us2.malaysia-today.net/2008/content/view/11225/84/

Anonymous said...

Fake degrees from bogus institutions are to be expected. But what about legitimate local universities though recognised but not giving proper quality education? Dont they are about the same? One is legalised cheating the other is not

have real diploma said...

this show how far people strecth to find a good job,good salary and looking good!

i'm just so thankful that i got my job now with real diploma and dont have to cheat in resume *wink*.

Derek said...

Preston U is making a comeback, See Star Section 2, page 12 (12 Aug 2008).

Perhaps you should do a re-run on Preston U.

Anonymous said...

OKM, pls check the fake "PhD" of well known political commentator "Dr" Ei Sun Oh. he claims to have a Juris Dr from UC Davis but if you check the website he only has a MSc

Anonymous said...

Tan Sri Dr. Lim Wee Chai, Managing director of Top glove, obtained his phd from the notorious bogus 'Irish International University'....as highlighted by a blogger:
http://manifestogwl.blogspot.com/2008/01/tan-sri-dr-lim-wee-chai.html. Tan Sri is still using his doctorate title. I agree with the anonymous about "Dr" Oh Ei Sun, who appears quite often in the local chinese newspapers.

TruthDigger said...

Oh Ei Sun likes to call himself "Dr" but there is debate whether he is actually a real doctor or not. The Juris Doctor of Law that Oh Ei Sun has is not the same as a Phd "Dr". The Juris Doctor of Law is more like a first bachelor's degree. So there is considerable debate whether someone with a Juris Doctor can call himself "Dr". From wikipedia:

Evidence that the J.D. is not a doctoral level degree

- The Master of Laws (LL.M.) requires the J.D. as a prerequisite, and the Scientiae Juridicae Doctor (S.J.D.) requires both the J.D. and the LL.M. as prerequisites. This suggests that the J.D. is not the highest degree in law.

- Non-U.S. academic institutions have stated that, despite its name, the J.D. is not a doctoral level award and graduates are not entitled to use the honorific title "Doctor", and have stated that the J.D. is not a terminal degree.

- The U.S. government sets the starting pay grade for "Master's or equivalent graduate degree(s) (such as LL.B. or J.D.)" at GS-9, but the pay grade for "Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree(s)" at GS-11. The European Research Council states that, "First-professional degrees will not be considered...PhD-equivalent, even if recipients carry the title 'Doctor'."

I note that in the article above, Oh Ei Sun is not referred to as "Dr". Yet it seems that Oh Ei Sun likes to go around calling himself "Dr", as in his biodata:

"Dr. Ei Sun OH (Juris Doctor, MBA, MSc, University of California, Davis) is a highly sought-after international speaker-trainer-motivator, consultant, entrepreneur and academician."

bob said...

Juris Doctor or J.D. is only considered a professional degree, not a Ph.D degree. In fact, there is no dissertation or defense of thesis necessary to get a J.D., unlike a real Ph.D degree.

J.D. is definitely not recognised in Malaysia, therefore it is wrong for Oh Ei Sun to continually refer to himself as a "Dr." in public, as he has been doing. Would Mr Oh like to clarify and explain why he always refers to himself as "Dr." in public?

suso said...

J.D. is only considered a professional degree, not a PhD degree. J.D. is more like a first bachelor’s degree. In fact, there is no dissertation or defense of thesis necessary to get a J.D., unlike a PhD degree.

J.D. is definitely not recognised in Malaysia as a terminal PhD level degree, therefore it is wrong for Oh Ei Sun to continually refer to himself as a “Dr” in his biodata: http://www.i-insights.com/trainingoutline/bedecisive.pdf

I note that in the press article announcing Mr Oh’s appointment as political secretary, he is not referred to as “Dr”. He is referred to as “academician Oh Ei Sun”. Yet it seems that Oh Ei Sun likes to go around calling himself “Dr”, as in his biodata.

Would Mr Oh like to clarify and explain why he refers to himself as “Dr” in his biodata? It’s clear that he is not a real PhD level doctor.

Anonymous said...

Oh Ei Sun was a very smart chinese boy from a chinese independent school in Sabah, He can't wait to go to collage, he enter top U.S. university at very young age and study multiple degrees at the same time.what is so difficult for him to get a phd degree?? Orang Sabah BOLEH!!!

fake diploma said...

Hey, I am looking for fake degree on hotel management to go in the aboard for a job. I have this job offer in Canada but they are asking me to get a degree or diploma in hotel management. I am totally unable to arrange one fake degree in the category please specify one link which can provide me the diploma.

Fake degree

fake diploma said...

Hey, I am looking for fake diploma on hotel management to go in the aboard for a job. I have this job offer in Canada but they are asking me to get a degree or diploma in hotel management. I am totally unable to arrange one fake diploma in the category please specify one link which can provide me the diploma.