Everybody lies! How can universities and recruiters prevent and detect application fraud?

Presenter: James Pickering, Academic Registry Manager

Institution: Nottingham Trent University

Email: james.pickering@ntu.ac.uk

Format: Presentation : a presentation for most of the session with time for questions at the end.

Second Presenter:

Emma Irving, HE Executive, Prospects,


The Office for National Statistics has revealed that, in the last three years, of 138,000 UK HR managers and directors 14% have dealt with at least five instances of employees not holding the certifications they claimed – the equivalent of about 100,000 job applicants.

The UK Government commissioned Prospects to investigate bogus universities and raise awareness of degree fraud amongst employers, universities, students and graduates. After 6 years, 200,000 verification checks, countless fake degree certificates and fraudulent claims Prospects’ HEDD service has described the first national picture of degree fraud. This session will report on the successes in identifying and shutting down bogus providers and the development of ‘toolkits’ of advice and guidance for higher education providers and recruiters. The sessions will also outline how Hedd can be used as an in house system for handling 3rd party verification checks using NTUas a case study.

The session will include:

  • Real fraud case studies from employers and universities
  • Recommendations for universities on verification policies and best practice
  • Application fraud prevention and detection
  • Tips for identifying bogus universities, fake certificates and other documents.

Using Powerpoint slides the session will firstly illustrate the problem with statistics on the frequency of fraud. It will draw on independent research as well as our own research at Prospects. It will look at the different types of degree fraud using real case studies from employers and universities. We will show examples of bogus universities, fake certificates and the scales of the problem worldwide. We will interact with the delegates by taking straw polls on their own recruitment and verification practices and ask them to ‘spot the difference’ between real and fake universities. It will cover the key recommendations in the toolkits on introducing verification policies and best practice in their university.

Tips will be given throughout the session on identifying bogus websites and documents.


Registry, Admissions, Student Services staff