JEFFERSON CITY – Many top universities offer online degrees, but the Web is also home to diploma mills.
disguise themselves as legitimate high schools and colleges, and make a
profit by selling printed degrees and fake transcripts.
Since January, six students have tried to enroll at a Cosmetology school in Jefferson City using phony high school diplomas.
Diploma mills pose as accredited schools making their Web sites look like the real deal.
You can get hoaxed into it and not even know it. You’ll pay tuition fees, and even extra for academic honors.
Diploma mills usually have two types of customers: those searching
for a genuine academic program who are unaware they’re enrolling in a
diploma mill, and those students who are well aware of the fraud.
The head of admissions at Merrell is cracking down on fake diplomas.
A state auditor detected the first phony diploma at a school of Cosmetology last year.
The student honestly did not know she had been scammed.
She was in the last stretch of her degree, and the university had to kick her out.
She was shocked.
“That’s the number one reaction: ‘so what do I do with this?'” Admissions Director Scott Sharp said.
Out of the 96 Cosmetology schools in Missouri, Sharp is the only admissions director reporting fraudulent diplomas.
“There’s no way I’m the only person that’s getting these,” Sharp said.
The difference between the fake and real diplomas is unnoticeable.
Sharp said a diploma mill company will change the name of the school
if it receives negative attention through blogging or the media.