Preventing Educational Cyber Crime

Jan 16, 2020 by

As employers look for well-qualified and experienced new hires, the rate of educational cybercrime has increased significantly. While job applicants carefully list their academic achievements on resumes and online portals, few employers actually take the time to verify their claims.

Due to this, a considerable number of people secure job roles based on falsified claims and outright untruths. Unfortunately, this means that genuinely qualified candidates are missing out. Furthermore, businesses and organizations are suffering unknown losses due to inadvertently hiring underqualified staff.

Although the rate of educational cybercrime is alarmingly high, it isn’t an issue that’s widely known or frequently discussed. If you’ve assumed that falsifying a resume or embellishing one’s achievements is a thing of the past, just take a look at how academic misrepresentation is taking place today.

Job Applications

Job applications and recruitment results in, perhaps, the largest numbers of educational misrepresentation. Well aware that they will be competing against other highly qualified candidates, some applicants take the risk of embellishing their qualifications. From overstating their grades to claiming attendance at institutions they’ve never visited, dishonest job applicants are using a variety of ways to secure their dream roles.

In some cases, employers require potential candidates to confirm their educational achievements before they’re even permitted to apply for a role. Online application portals often have screening questions before you can begin your application, for example. Although these may clearly state that a candidate must possess a specific qualification or level of achievement, dishonest applicants will simply tick the ‘yes’ box to proceed with their application.

As most employers don’t verify educational claims, many dishonest candidates have thus far got away with their deception. While this may have ensured a short-term gain, the consequences are likely to be severe and long-lasting when their actions inevitably come to light.

Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization can help to establish your relevance and authority within a particular industry. In some cases, being a member of professional organization is a prerequisite of securing a job in a specific sector.

If you want to practice as a litigator, for example, you’ll need to be a member of a relevant Bar Association. Despite this, a significant number of people merely claim to be members of accredited bodies and professional organizations.

In some cases, their membership may have lapsed or been terminated for some reason. In others, individuals may have failed to secure entry by missing the mark on examinations and assessments. Of course, there are also individuals who never even attempt to join the organizations they claim to be part of.

The implications of these falsified educational achievements are clear – undertaking a job role for which you are not qualified can lead to serious consequences and criminal prosecutions. If someone falsifies their medical qualifications and membership of medical organizations, for example, they could work with, diagnose and treat patients without having the knowledge, expertise or experience to do so.

Given the serious and potentially life-altering consequences of these falsities, it’s vital that potential employers verify the academic history of any new hires. By screening out candidates who have an unverifiable educational background, companies can protect themselves and the public.

Real-Life Examples of Educational Crime

If you still think educational crime is overexaggerated or farfetched, think again. There are plenty of real-life examples of people who have falsified their academic histories to gain job roles.

In Pennsylvania, for example, Kimberly Kitchen practiced as an attorney for over a decade, despite the fact that she didn’t have a law degree or an attorney’s license. However, her deception didn’t stop there. She actually served as the President of the Huntingdon County Bar Association for some time until her deception was discovered

In Greece, Ioannis Kastanis was appointed as the Head of Medicine at a leader hospital. Although he claimed to have completed his medical training in Rome, it was later uncovered that he did not have the medical qualifications he claimed.

UCLA Medical Center was also duped by a fake medical professional, when Adam Litwin posed as a resident student for six months back in 1999. Although Litwin did go on to complete his studies and become an MD, the lapse clearly highlights the dangers of unqualified personnel misrepresenting themselves.

From bogus psychologists in Australia and unqualified pilots in India to famous impersonators like Frank Abagnale Jr. and Leaford George Cameron, educational misrepresentation is a much more common problem than you might think.

Preventing False Educational Claims

One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent false educational claims is to verify the claims of any potential job applicants. In the same way you might seek a reference from a previous employer before you agree to hire someone, you should check their academic achievements are true too.

Of course, attempting to contact numerous administrative departments when you’re trying to recruit new staff isn’t realistic. However, there is a far easier way to access someone’s education history. With an educational background check from a site like Public Records Review, you can confirm an individual’s educational background once you’ve received full consent from the individual.

While an educational background check won’t give you access to assignment grades and individual modules studied, it will give you a surprising amount of information. You should be able to determine which educational institutes the subject attended, for example, as well as whether they graduated or completed their course.

Given that the consequences of someone misrepresenting their educational achievements are so serious, educational background checks are something which all prospective employers should carry out. Furthermore, the simplicity of verifying someone’s educational background means any employer can easily integrate this into their recruitment process.

Who Can Run Educational Background Checks?

Although educational background checks are particularly relevant to businesses and employers, you don’t have to be a professional organization or company in order to run them. In fact, anyone can access someone else’s educational history, as well as their criminal record and other useful information.

Even academic institutions can make good use of educational background checks. Many colleges and universities offer courses which require students to have completed previous qualifications. If an applicant was to misrepresent their educational background, they could be accepted on to a course for which they’re not qualified to undertake. A quick educational background check would prevent this from happening and protect the integrity of the educational institution.

Similarly, professional associations and bodies could find it advantageous to run educational background checks before they allow members to join. This is particularly important when membership of the organization is widely recognized and used to confirm the credentials of individuals.

While there are numerous reasons why corporate organizations would want to run educational background checks, private individuals may be interested in learning more about someone’s educational history too.

Running Educational Checks as a Private Individual

If you don’t run a business and aren’t an employer but you want to run an educational background check, you’ll be pleased to know you can. As it’s so easy to find out more about a person’s educational background, it’s one of the easiest methods of verifying the truth about them.

If you’re consulting a professional, such as a doctor or lawyer, for example, you may want to verify their credentials before you meet with them. Given the relatively high-profile instances of false professionals gaining access to patients and clients, it’s not surprising that more people want to learn more about the doctors and lawyers they retain.

You may want to use educational background checks to learn more about people in your personal life too. There are many instances in which people are duped by people they’re dating, particularly as so many people meet online. If you want to confirm that someone is telling you the truth about their background, accessing their educational history will give you the information you need.

It may seem natural to take people at their word but, unfortunately, this can lead to heartache. With people’s physical, financial and emotional safety in jeopardy, learning more about people you’ve recently met can be an effective way of protecting yourself.

When to Run a Background Check

You can run an educational background check at any time you like, and you won’t be expected to justify your reasons. Whether you’ve known someone for five minutes or five years, you’re well within your rights to start making an educational background check right now.

For businesses that are running educational checks as part of their recruitment processes, it may not be necessary to screen every applicant’s history. As you begin to whittle the list of potential candidates down, however, it can be beneficial to begin running educational background checks. This will help you to highlight any potential issues before the candidate progresses further down the application route. In doing so, you can protect your business and minimize the cost of recruitment too.

Being vigilant about educational misrepresentation and cybercrime is important in today’s society. By running educational background checks, you can ensure that the people you’re working or associating with are who they say they are.

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