Diploma fraud is a frequent phenomenon in the spotlight when a personality finally turns out not to hold a diploma from a major institution even though it has been put forward.
Today, credentials and certificates fraud is a major challenge for companies and educational institutions.
In response to the ever-increasing need for authentication, many digital innovations are helping universities and companies tackle this scourge. Here is a brief overview of the different solutions for authenticating a credential.
Why is the credential authentication process necessary?
The extent of fake diploma fraud is nowadays extremely difficult to measure.
According to the results of a study by the Florian Mantione Institute in 2018 carried out on a sample of 289 company directors and 50 human resources managers, 29% of recruiters believe that the diplomas presented by candidates do not match reality. Between the presentation of a diploma on a resume and the exact title of the training, the difference is often quite important.
Thus, the emergence of websites specialized in the creation of fake diplomas is very alarming today: for a value between 150 and 200 €, some organizations offer authentic diplomas ranging from bachelor’s degrees to PhDs.
One of the real difficulties today comes from the process of detecting these fake diplomas. As it is difficult to explain what a fake diploma is. A student changing a few dates on his/her resume and an impostor who makes a fake diploma from scratch are different in terms of seriousness. Three common cases of fraud can be identified.
Enhancing the resume
Students who have graduated can try to embellish their diploma: adding a specialization, changing a date, inventing a mention, modifying the stages of the training course… For the best chance of success in an interview, the candidate will make minor modifications that he/she considers not objectionable in order to perfectly match his/her profile with a given offer. Often, the recruiter has low regard for the accuracy of the information given on a resume and this type of fraud will usually go unnoticed.
Claiming an incomplete training
The claim of a diploma by students who did not complete their school. Failure to pass an exam, dropping out of the program or dual program: this type of fraud is difficult to detect. The student is often familiar with the training institution, the different stages of the course and the teaching staff. It is therefore easy for the student to speak about this experience. Only the verification of the diploma will allow the recruiter to thwart the imposture.
Creating a fake diploma or credential from scratch
Certainly the most serious method but also the most recognizable by a good recruiter. This method sees the creation of a dummy diploma by an external institution or by the individuals themselves. This diploma, if it can cite a well-known institution of higher education, will often be built from scratch around a non-existent training or a ghost institution. This act constitutes a misdemeanor and may be punishable under Article 441-1 of the Penal Code, which provides for a prison sentence of three years and a fine of 45,000 euros.
Companies: how to identify a fake credential or diploma?
Companies are facing a real problem of authentication of the diplomas of new candidates: how to detect fraud in order to trust a candidate? Given the multiplication of certificates, credentials and degrees, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a recruiter to validate the authenticity of a diploma.
When recruiting, it is the company’s responsibility to verify that the candidate has a diploma. This is the responsibility of the employer. The addition of clauses in an employment contract, while it may be useful in the event of a conflict, is not enough to claim diploma fraud.
The verification of a diploma by a company is moreover governed by certain rules: the information and data communicated by the candidate cannot be collected by the company, they can only be used for the validation of skills for a given position. Likewise, the company, within the framework of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), must ensure the security and confidentiality of data.
To authenticate and verify a diploma, the company has several options.
- Contact the training institution directly and verify the information provided by the candidate. If this step is often tedious, it is still the most reliable way to verify the existence of training. However, the company must notify the applicant of this process and obtain the applicant’s explicit agreement to begin this verification process.
- Outsource the verification. This solution may be easy, but often very expensive. Verification bodies make it possible to guarantee, through the use of digital tools, a certain degree of regulatory compliance. The external body then handles the applicant’s request for approval and the back and forth carried out with the services of the training institutions.
- The use of a digital key. Although still in its infancy, this service provided by the government allows people with certain diplomas (high school diploma, advanced vocational training certificate) to obtain a digital key online to retrieve a diploma and generate a diploma certificate for a potential recruiter. This key can allow the organization to directly verify the applicant’s diploma. Today, this government platform gathers 20 million high school diplomas, but not yet post-high school diplomas except for the advanced vocational training certificate.
The process of authenticating certificates and diplomas is often tedious for companies. By acting directly on the digitization of diplomas, the technology of the blockchain is essential in the fight against fake diplomas.
The dematerialization of diplomas, certificates and credentials by the blockchain
The paper certificate (degree, credential etc.) is binding for companies, but also for academic institutions that have to face storage constraints. Thus, the digitization of credentials is becoming a truly strategic choice for institutions.
BCdiploma offers an innovative blockchain-based technology to provide a secure, digitized credential issuance solution for students. The principle is simple: when students leave school, they receive a secure URL link allowing them to access their diploma. Using the blockchain technology, this base is decentralized (it does not depend on a server) and secure.
This decentralized database contains the history of all stored data: it is tamper-proof and cannot be hacked. For educational institutions, it ensures the inviolability of their certifications. For companies, it provides easy and secure verification of a candidate’s bona fides. For a graduate, it is the end of storage worries and tedious requests for copies.
BCdiploma currently works with more than 100 institutions in 15 different countries, including emlyon business school and Arts et Métiers ParisTech.
If you want to learn more about BCdiploma and its innovative technology, click here!