Avoid Fake Degree Scams with Document Security QR Code
Forged and or tampered degrees or certificates has been plaguing our society for decades. But recent frauds and expose by media show that such crimes are becoming more pervasive. In this article, we investigate the core issue and suggest potential solutions.
A simple google search for news on ‘fake degree’ or ‘fraud mark sheet’ will throw up the magnitude of the problem. Degree frauds are no more limited to that person seeking a clerical job or in some one-off university but are now being uncovered in high places as well and across the spectrum.
There are three key drivers for this phenomenon:
Motivation: Academic credentials are highly valued and considered a passport for leading a good and respectable life?—?by hook or crook, everyone wants one!
Access to technology: Sophisticated scanners, printers and image manipulation software are now easily available to everyone.
Globalisation: With increased workforce mobility, it is now quite common for people growing up and studying in one part of the world and working in another.
And the society pays a very heavy price for this manipulation, each day. Not only do these erode faith in the system, but what is worrying is the damage extending beyond sullied reputations or economic costs literally causing even deaths due to fake doctors or airline pilots for example. There are two specific ways in which this problem manifests
Outright fake: As the name suggests these candidates had never graduated from the said institution and had either forged a certificate by modifying one from a friend or by using an online degree selling service.
Embellishment: These are cases where they graduated from the claimed college, but courses are faked, or marks enhanced in transcripts. These are even more difficult to detect because a high-level check will validate that the person did attend that college. The problem is amplified further because organised commercial operators now ‘manufacture’ these fake documents.
How can we mitigate this epidemic of fake degrees?
To understand this, it is important to understand how verification services are done today and how they fail for a variety of reasons.
Request to inspect original: Not really used today because it is now easy to source “original” looking fake certificates.
Check with the University itself: Most universities offer a cumbersome process and time taken is long.
Engage third-party investigation agencies: These agencies often charge exorbitantly, and it is a drain of money and time that many organizations cannot afford.
Web Service (Manual or automated): While this seems like a simple solution, this is far more complex and expensive for set up and execution. To provide instant verification, which usually is the prime driver – the trade-offs are significant in addition to cost and complexity. It is often reported that the system is prone to compromise of Student privacy, Database risks, Data leakage and Data tampering – thus creating a much larger problem than what it attempts to solve. Usually, universities are not equipped for such large investments in IT systems too.
What then is the solution?
The solution is surprisingly simple. With rapid strides in document security QR Code, securing document with a QR code is simple, efficient, and affordable. The solution based on an innovative technology that enables secure QR code integration to secure both printed and electronic documents with a secure QR code. The University issues their transcripts with Secure QR Code that is printed on their Certificates and Transcripts. The many advantages of QR Code for Document Security include –
Applies to both Printed and Electronic Formats: Universities can issue printed or electronic documents with secure QR codes for document security. This can be easily verified with any simple smartphone (using a relevant app) that validates the content against tampering.
Easy to validate on an ad-hoc basis: Anyone with the smartphone app can validate the document anywhere – online or offline.
No need to Access Central Database: It completely avoids Central Database or network access for validation thus making it efficient and keeping the IT systems secure and hackproof.
Affordable: Finally, you pay only a small fee for the certificates that you generate using such a technology and there are no significant setup costs.
Refer to the sample below:
Transcript secured with Qryptal QR
This is how a certificate using a secure QR code looks like: So, the next time you are looking to issue tamper-proof transcripts, Document Security QR Code is your answer.
This article first appeared in Economic Times on January 15, 2019.
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