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| Financial Services
June 7 2010

Employers need to carefully check that unfamiliar credentials are not fake degrees

Employers need to carefully check that unfamiliar credentials are not fake degrees. That is the clear conclusion of a new case study released by Verifile. Verifile, a UK-based background screening company. The case study shows fake degrees are a real problem for employers including those in the highly regulated financial services industry.

In two recent investigations, Verifile background screening team identifed two applicants for executive positions who listed fake degrees on their CVs. An applicant to a financial institution, for example, listed a degree from Rochelle University, a Diploma mill. At least three US states do not recognize the legitimacy of Rochelle University degrees. In another case, an IT opening at a mortgage finance firm drew an application from a candidate claiming to hold a degree from the University of Northwest. That school has been blacklisted in four US states, including Texas."Regardless of whether or not having a degree is essential for the job itself, it is an issue of honesty, integrity and trust. If someone has knowingly set out to deceive by listing a fake degree, they may not stop there and the potential risk to unsuspecting employers is huge,"" said Eyal Ben Cohen, Managing Director of Verifile.

Background screening is essential, not only because fake degrees can indicate an applicant is not trustworthy, but because companies can pay a heavy reputational and financial cost if they fail to spot an employee with a phony diploma. Verifile points to a recent case where EDS was forced to pay their partner BSkyB £700 million when it was proved in court that an EDS employee lied about his MBA. At trial, an opposing lawyer purchased the very same fake degree online for his very smart dog, Lulu."