Students warned about graduation selfies

July, 2016

Prospects’ Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) is warning students and universities about the dangers of sharing graduation selfies.

Sellers of fake degrees are able to access the latest designs from photos posted online of graduates celebrating with their certificates.

Logos, crests, signatories, stamps, holograms and wording can be easily copied onto fake certificates and passed off as genuine to unwitting employers.

Jayne Rowley, Director at Prospects’ HEDD explains: “Each year we see thousands of graduation selfies innocently tweeted by students and retweeted by their universities. Added to the eternal gallery of images online, they give anyone in the business of counterfeit degree certificates the latest designs. We’re contacting university social media teams to advise them not to include certificates in their photo tweets and to advise their students the same.

Websites selling genuine-looking certificates for a few pounds rely on getting access to real certificates for their fakes to pass muster with recruiters. None of us would upload a copy of our passport or driving licence, nor give out our bank details. We should regard our degree certificates as precious and private information to be guarded.

Significant time and financial investment goes into getting a degree certificate, don’t throw that away by giving unscrupulous people a free pass to a graduate job.

3 ways to spot a fake certificate:

  • Check the spelling and language - misspellings are a common indication of a fake certificate
  • Check the university is accredited – check the university name using the authenticate tool on
  • Check the terminology – fakes often use American wording such as ‘Dean list’ or ‘fall’ and ‘winter’ to describe terms. ‘Cum laude’ is common instead of ‘honours’ as is ‘matriculation date’ instead of ‘start date’

Last year the Department for Business Innovation and Skills announced its appointment of Prospects to clampdown on the number of bogus institutions1. It works with Trading Standards, National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and other law enforcement authorities to close perpetrators.

HEDD has launched toolkits to help employers, universities and colleges protect themselves from fraud – available to download at

Find out more

Clare Tregaskis : Graduate Prospects : 0161 277 5285 : Sarah Brookes : Graduate Prospects : 0161 277 5327 :

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