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January 16 2018

Staggering trade in fake degrees revealed

Thousands of UK nationals have bought fake degrees from a multi-million pound "diploma mill" in Pakistan, a BBC Radio 4's File on Four programme investigation has found. Buyers include NHS consultants, nurses and a large defence contractor.

According to documents seen by BBC Radio 4's File on Four programme, more than 3,000 fake Axact qualifications were sold to UK-based buyers in 2013 and 2014, including masters degrees, doctorates and PhDs. The Department for Education said it was taking "decisive action to crack down on degree fraud" that "cheats genuine learners."

The General Medical Council (GMC) said it was up to employers to verify any qualifications additional to medical degrees. But Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) chief executive Jayne Rowley said only 20% of UK employers ran proper checks on applicants' qualifications.

And while purchasing a fake diploma was not illegal in the UK, using one to apply for employment constituted fraud by misrepresentation and could result in a 10-year prison sentence."