Scammers Galore: Fake Universities Uncovered in China

Scammers Galore: Fake Universities Uncovered in China
Photo Credit: John Walker @Flickr CC BY 2.0

Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee

More than 70 fake universities and colleges have been uncovered in an annual report released by sdaxue.com, a Chinese education website. The phony institutions sell diplomas via the internet with the cheapest going for just NT$750 (approximately US$23).

Most of the content published by the scammers’ websites is copied from the sites of legal schools and is often put together in a way that makes little sense. Some are scarcely updated for several years.

Even after the websites have been reported as illegal, many continue operating, selling fake qualifications for as much as NT$20,000 (approximately US$612).

Since 2013, sdaxue.com has uncovered more than 400 fake universities in China. Hsia Hsueh, founder of sdaxue.com, says the group constantly receives reports of fake universities from netizens.

Sina reports that legal universities, whose names are fraudulently used, have called on the authorities to curb the problem.

The education departments of some local governments say that they don’t have the power to deal with the issue, because it is considered telecommunication fraud – which is handled by the police department.

The police department says it is difficult to crack down on the illegal colleges without reports from the public.

A representative from sdaxue.com says despite running the investigations each year, it has not been contacted by a relevant government body.

According to a member of Beijing Municipal Education Commission, the government will collaborate with the police department to investigate the issue.

Chen Chiang-ping, former content director of sdaxue.com who has spent years verifying the authenticity of colleges, says that online criminals create personal education profiles on a number of unofficial education information websites, creating a network of false information.

Some people are tricked into buying the diplomas, believing they are real. Others knowingly purchase the fake diplomas, hoping to get better pay, a promotion or other benefits, according to Chen.

Chen says it is simple and low cost to build a website of a fake university in a foreign country. According to the sdxue.com report, only one out of the 73 fake university websites was registered in China. The others are registered in the US, Korea and Taiwan.

Cheng Chen-wei, a journalist for Zhejiang Education Newspaper, believes the best solution to the issue is improve the living quality of the most unprivileged people in society because they are the ones who are most prone to taking the risk of buying a fake diploma.

Cheng adds that people living in poverty may be easy targets.

Edited by Edward White

Sources:

Sina

ETtoday

Sina

CTiTV

China Daily

UDN