Background Checks


Over the last several months, we have definitely seen an upswing in the number of job seekers attempting to claim college degrees they haven’t earned!  Employers, therefore, need to be on their guard to ensure that candidates for employment aren’t lying about their academic credentials.

Happily, it is not possible to fake a degree successfully if care is used when verifying the level of educational attainment claimed.  Most of the time, a degree can be verified by simply calling the college or university and asking them to verify the degree, based on the name under which the applicant claimed to have graduated, date of birth, and Social Security number, all of which can be obtained from the candidate seeking employment.

There are occasions, however, when a school cannot verify a degree because they cannot find the record of graduation.  In instances like these, before concluding the applicant has falsified their academic credentials, ask the applicant to bring in the diploma.  Then, provide a copy of the diploma to the school for verification of authenticity.  What we have seen is a growing number of applicants who can, in fact, produce a diploma, but, with increasing frequency, one which was not issued by the college or university.  Regrettably, there are numerous on-line services that claim to be able to produce a “diploma,” for a fee, from nearly any school in the nation.  Once they are sent to the actual institution, however, the pretend diploma is discovered.  It’s even possible to produce a diploma-like document with some computer programs, but the same strategy applies: If the school, from which the degree is claimed, has no record of the applicant’s degree, simply ask that the diploma or a copy be produced so it can be sent to the institution.  Fakes are ordinarily discovered very quickly.

Here’s one exception, however, that is worth noting.  We had a father alter his son’s actual diploma to make it look like Dad had earned the degree – they both had the same names.  The diploma looked authentic, but what could not be altered was the name of the president of the school who was not there during the years when Dad claimed he had earned the degree!  Some job seekers will even go so far as to offer a phone number claiming that it’s for the Registrar’s Office of the school, when, in fact, it’s a friend’s number who is willing to pretend to be the registrar.  The easy answer to this type of ruse is to look up the number yourself, rather than take the applicant’s word for it.

People trying to gain an edge in a tight economy are not above attempting to pass off phony diplomas, but 99.9% of the time, they can be easily discovered.  We at Barada Associates, with over 30 years of experience, are particularly good at uncovering frauds, if I do say so myself!