Differentiating an original degree from a fake one may seem daunting. Checks need to be put in place to curtail the crime.

“You can now apply for a job in any MNC in India or abroad. Get a diploma, degree or a certificate from any major university today. Professional degrees from top engineering, law, MCA, MBA or design institutes are also available.”

This is an extract from one of the thousand advertisements blatantly promoting counterfeit degrees in India. The country has received a notorious label for having the highest number of cases of employment-related inconsistencies, according to a recent background discrepancy survey done globally by background screening firm First Advantage. “The survey was carried out globally, and the data had been collected from the employment logs of various industries. An alarming rate of 50 per cent of all the job aspirants forging their previous job experience certificates were exposed during the survey. In fact, the statistics of 2013 indicated cases with such irregularities in some employment sectors to have been as high as 71.5 per cent.”

For a few hundred dollars, you can buy a degree of any college in the world. .

Identifying fake degrees

Differentiating a genuine degree from a fake one can be a daunting task. First, the forgers have been able to decipher what kind of stationery or paper to use, the right kind of ink to use as well as identical stamps, making it extremely difficult to spot a fake. Secondly, the broken system allows some of the fake degrees to be issued with the help of university officials themselves for the price of a few hundred dollars.

This makes background checks extremely hard for a corporate or any institution. The reputation of universities and institutes under whose name the fake degrees are issued, also gets affected. There are certain options that can help curtail this problem.

Employers and institutions have the option of using manual checking systems, which typically entails a verification agency to do physical checks at various locations to ensure that correct data is being submitted by job-seekers. This is an expensive, lengthy and a cumbersome process, which may take days or even weeks to complete. This is not always foolproof.

Recently, a new solution is being considered by institutions, which seems to be a quick and inexpensive option. Authenticate, a global software company, has recently launched a simple, yet highly secure solution to hasten and foolproof the verification process. This can be implemented by educational institutions while issuing degrees and certificates, and can be instantly verified at the user end by a simple and free downloadable app on a smart phone. It can be implemented in no time and is “counterfeit-proof.” It can help deserving candidates get the right jobs, besides enabling employers save millions in carrying out background checks and verification process of the candidates.

The writer is director, Authenticate.