A Marketplace investigation of the world’s largest diploma mill has discovered many Canadians could be putting their health and well-being in the hands of nurses, engineers, counsellors and other professionals with phoney credentials.
Fake diplomas are a billion-dollar industry, according to experts, and Marketplace obtained business records of its biggest player, a Pakistan-based IT firm called Axact. The team spent months combing through thousands of degree transactions, cross referencing personal information with customers’ social media profiles.
The investigation revealed more than 800 Canadians could have purchased a fake degree.
“Keep in mind this is just the one operation,” said Allen Ezell, a former FBI agent who investigated diploma mills for decades. “This does not give you totality of how many are being sold throughout Canada by all schools that are operating.”
Ezell, who co-wrote the book Degree Mills: The Billion-Dollar Industry That Has Sold Over a Million Fake Diplomas, estimates half of new PhDs issued every year in the U.S. are fake.