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Qualifications on
A Review about Fake Degrees, Fake Diplomas, and other dubious academic awards promoted in spam emails
Especially of note is the comment right at the end, where the ramifications of fake degrees are explained in a way which is "close to home" for most people.

Make more money! Increase your chance of getting a really good job by getting some QUALIFICATIONS! Sounds good so far. But then the advertisement goes on to say that neither work nor ability are required. Of course the usual thing about qualifications is that you go to University and study for a few years and then pass an exam. To get a degree requires being clever and also doing some work. But mainly it's being clever that's important. But what about these people offering you a qualification just by paying them some money? Will that increase your chance of getting a really good job? And mean you can DOUBLE YOUR SALARY? Well, I doubt it. There are a few things about this which need to be thought about:

I studied for years and succeeded in getting a degree in computer science at a proper university. This means that some companies would like to employ me on a reasonable wage in a better-than-average job. Not that I need such a job, as I run my own company. If I was to put up an advertisement for job vacancies for people to work for me, and invited people to come for interviews, don't you think I would actually check how clever the people were before I employed them? And if they'd got a "qualification", don't you think I'd check it to see if it was worth the paper it was written on? What would be the point in employing someone because they'd got a qualification that they'd bought? In fact, having such a certificate would be a disadvantage in a way, as it would infer a lack of honesty, rather like a bogus CV.

The point is that getting a qualification has to require ability, or it's not worth anything. The converse isn't true, however; it IS possible to have ability without having a qualification.

Update 2006/12: The rate of incoming spam offering fake degrees is little diminished, although it is having to compete with vast amounts of much more commonplace rubbish with other very predicable spam lines. It is very rare these days for a spam message to offer anything honest or genuine. Most spam messages are total scams! See Rogues Gallery and Bank Hoaxes. Also, the level of intelligence of the target audience has dropped, as spam senders make it easy for us. But this is not universally the case, and I recently received a message which requires closer scrutiny. It's a message about fake qualifications and another scam matter (being charged for things that are usually free), but on closer examination there is something clever going on, and I think it's worth exposing! (though not necessarily in the way the message primarily suggests!) ... So read carefully and think about this: I paid 180 US Dollars for this information on Ebay, yours free!!! * Please do not write in and tell me this is a SCAM unless you've read what I have actually said about it *

Update 2010/10:

Spam-senders now aiming even-lower in their market, in terms of the stupidity requirements for attaining a fake diploma! Here are some examples of spam messages going about...

Your employer doesn’t value you?
You want to be respected by your friend and close people?
Or maybe you just need another diploma to reach some aim?
Not a problem anymore due to our service.
Now you can get any university diploma of any field and of any level, whether it is Doctor’s degree or Master’s degree.
No need to attend university anymore and wait for diploma for couple years.
We do that faster.
Call us through one of the telephone numbers
1-718-XXX-XXXX* (Inside USA)
or +1-718-XXX-XXXX and make your order.
Don’t forget to leave your first and last name and soon our specialist will contact you for details.
Become valuable, become respected and everything else will come on its own.


* Phone numbers removed in case anyone's daft enough to phone!

Well, do you think you'll be valued or respected more if you've got a fake qualification? Haven't you considered you might be thought of as a jerk on account of having been stupid enough to think that this were true? Also, although it's arguably someone's freedom to set up a University For Dunces and to issue worthless qualifications, it's entirely another thing to imply that you can get ANY UNIVERSITY qualification. That would be falsification, as the disreputable edupification collages to not have the justified right to cut-and-paste pieces of silk from reputable universities!

Here's another spam message...

We provide a concept that will allow anyone with sufficient work experience to obtain
a fully verifiable University Degree.
Bachelors, Masters or even a Doctorate.

Think of it, within four to six weeks, you too could be a college graduate.
Many people share the same frustration, they are doing the work of the person that has
the degree and the person that has the degree is getting all the money.
Do not you think that it is time you were paid fair compensation for the level of work you
are already doing?

This is your chance to finally make the right move and receive your due benefits.
If you are more than qualified with your experience, but are lacking that prestigious piece
of paper known as a diploma that is often the pasport to success.


Ring Anytime +1-601-XXX-XXXX


Now admittedly this is not quite so bad. It's still highly problematical, but not quite as bad as the "totally fake" qualifications. At least this alleges to take into account your EXPERIENCE and to make up a qualification based on that. However, to be fair, we don't know how this would pan-out in practice. If you've got two weeks work experience serving hamburgers at McDonalds, then any qualification for that should state it and should not say DEGREE!

Also, as the message was SPAM, it is perhaps unsurprising that it had spam-filter evasion robot-traps in. The original message was revealed to have approximately the following in it...

We provide a conc$ ebg $ept that will allow anyone with suf$ bf $ficient work ex$ fsr $perience to obtain
a fully ve$ vl $rifiable Univ$ xqn $ersity De$ bxa $gree.
Bache$ zcz $lors, Mast$ zmz $ers or even a Doc$ yri $torate.

Think of it, within four to six weeks, you too could be a college gr$ ysl $aduate.
Many people share the same frustration, they are doing the work of the person that has
the deg$ fpw $ree and the person that has the degr$ lce $ee is getting all the money.
Do not you think that it is time you were paid fair compe$ dum $nsation for the level of work you
are already doing?

This is your chance to finally make the right move and receive your due benefits.
If you are more than qualif$ dv $ied with your exper$ tcd $ience, but are la$ bmd $cki$ld $ng that presti$ vn $gious pi$ kic $ece
of paper known as a dip$ wuc $loma that is often the pa$ byt $ssp$ hso $ort to success.

EX$ xp $PER$ gb $IEN$ cuo $CE THE CH$ zf $AN$ am $CE TO EA$ ek $RN YOU
THE HIGHER CO$ co $MPEN$ gre $SAT$ brk $ION YOU DE$ bj $SER$ vf $VE!

Ring Anytime +1$ qf $-6$ bf $01$ cl $-X$ csv $XX$ ty $-X$ nkr $XX$ yh $X


Of course I have removed the phone number even from the coded version as I don't intend to advertise the place! The splitches in the message are there, and this may explain why your spam-trap e-mail client can't trap out the spam messages despite a large number of them starting with "WHAT A GREAT IDEA!" even when it is a decidedly iffy idea. Also notice the way the splitches are included in the phone number and in any key words such as "degree". This would allow the spam message to evade trapping-out by the more basic spam filtering systems. If you want to write a computer program to trap out messages that are tin-plated like this, you could write a pseudo text-browser front end to create a second version of the message and then scan that for the things you're trying to trap out, while preserving the other version for display. This would also eliminate the problems of hidden/obfuscated bad html bits in html e-mails!

"Well" you might say, "it's easy for you to say that. You've got a real degree in Computer Science!". That statement would show some insight, but the fact is it's easy for me to say it because I know what I'm doing. Having a degree in computer science simply confirms that, rather than being the thing of itself.

What a Good Idea? No, it's a BAD idea. In fact, if you think it's such a good idea, then here's how to find out: When you get ill, and you need to go and see a DOCTOR... are you going to insist on seeing a doctor with an actual degree in medicine? Or, how'd you like to be medically treated by someone who has bought a doctorate degree for a few dollars from one of those naff spam sites? ...mmm, I thought not. Funny how it doesn't seem such a good idea when your life is on the line.