Graduation selfies: student warning against degree fraud

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Graduation is an exciting time. Students are understandably proud of their achievements and want to share the news on social media. However, seemingly innocent selfies taken with degree certificates can have undesirable consequences.

We’ve found evidence that fraudsters are using social media to copy students’ degree certificates and use them for illegal purposes.

Sellers of fake degree certificates browse the internet to find the latest designs, logos, crests, signatories, stamps, holograms and wording. They can then be easily copied from shared photos onto fake certificates and passed off as genuine to unwitting employers.

Just a reminder that students should not be retweeting, Snapping or using Instagram to post images of degree certificates. Like passports, driving licences and birth certificates, degree certificates are legal as well as personal documents.

The advice is simple: the best way for graduates to protect themselves and their universities from certificate misuse is to not post their degree certificates online in the first place.

The Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) is working with Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to address issues concerning degree fraud. This includes identifying bogus institutions and tackling the misuse of the word ‘university’.

If you would like any additional information or would like to report a bogus institution we’ve now set up a degree fraud line on 0845 077 1968. Calls to this number will be charged at 2 pence plus your operator’s standard fee.

You can also contact our degree fraud team at k.tobin@prospects.ac.uk

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