Freshly graduated students who take pictures with their new degrees are being urged not to share the images on social media, to avoid fuelling the multimillion-pound trade in fake degrees.
Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd), the UK’s official service for verifying degrees, said that more than two-thirds of students plan to take “graduation selfies” this year.
But Hedd warns that the growing trend for documenting degree-success online is giving fraudsters access to the latest logos, crests, signatories, stamps, holograms and wording, fuelling the booming business of selling fake certificates.
The latest designs can be easily copied on to forgeries and passed off as genuine to unwitting employers, the organisation said.
Research conducted by Hedd shows that 69% of students preparing to graduate this year are planning to document their achievement by sharing a photo with their followers on social media – with Facebook and Instagram the favoured channels. Meanwhile, 24% plan to record a video with their degree.
Female students are much more likely to want to share a selfie than their male equivalents, Hedd found – 78% for women, compared to just 60% for men.
And the research found that up to 74% of students were unaware that images of their degree certificates could be used to produce fakes.
ayne Rowley, chief executive at Graduate Prospects, which operates Hedd, warned graduates not to give fraudsters the opportunity to profit from their hard work.
“You wouldn’t share a picture of your passport or your driving licence. Degree certificates are no different.
“Degree fraud affects everyone. After investing time and money in a degree, genuine graduates should not be at risk of losing out in the jobs market to a candidate using a fake certificate.”