Since fraud is everywhere, fraud in the education sector should not be surprising; academic corruption has led to plenty of educational fraud among higher level students across educational institutes. The education system has suffered a loss from fraudulent activities that have summed up to about $70 million globally, including unavailable academic records. In the educational industry, numerous frauds have emerged over time. These include phishing scams, malware crimes, credit card scams, etc.
Research has shown that universities are major targets for fraudsters, and various data breaches have exposed personal academic registers and academic documents to the public. This breach has caused serious jeopardy. Blackmail for these scammers is a lucrative business.
Law enforcement agencies have developed techniques to combat this issue of education fraud across education institutions to ensure that educational quality is maintained in the education industry. Some of the efforts include informatization of society and education and creating awareness among tertiary education students, higher education learners, and even faculty members. The dangers of academic fraud are being placed in the light and are treated with utmost concern.
Let us look at five scams that are eroding higher education.
Student Loan Scam
Schools provide benefits in the form of financial aid and student loans. These benefits have been used in recent years. This fraud occurs when students temper or falsify their family's financial position, misrepresent documents to qualify for aid. The punishment for this crime might deny you your years ahead through imprisonment or large monetary fines.
The report has it that schools have suffered immensely from this practice as 65,000 fake students have been discovered across many schools. This has been considered one of the biggest scams in recent times; this issue surfaces on the news now and then and is achieved through duplicitous means such as fake emails and other online services.
This crime can be avoided through intense and meticulous documentation and background checks. The university should be willing to go the extra mile to vet and scrutinize any information regarding its school population, and this research should not be conducted only once. Still, it should be adopted for a long-time stretch. This fraudulent activity is not prevalent at the high school level but is found on the higher levels of education; the university and college level.
This takes a similar form to the scam, as mentioned earlier. Identity and records are tempered with and adulterated to suit whatsoever reason, including scholarships. Some scholarships grant money to support or offer you a complete paid-for ride through school. This scam is a two-way scam, and duplicitous agencies also beguile applicants to pay for fake scholarships.
This scam is easy to manifest as it can be achieved through text messages, phone calls and other simple means, making this a bit rampant. Statistics from 2021 revealed that at least a 43million Americans are in debt of at least $36000 in federal loans; this makes learners vulnerable to scholarship scams.
Since scholarships are available at an international level, an effective international practice should be adopted to combat this issue as it is a cankerworm causing enormous damage in the educational market.
Microsoft Security Intelligence posits that the education sphere has suffered the most from cybercrimes in 2020, encountering about 64 percent of malware attacks. Why is this so? Remote learning, as breath-taking and important, as it is, has its cons. One provides learners with an opportunity to use their devices and unsecured network systems to join classes, thus equipping them with what they need to hack and steal data from the database. The Michigan state university was hit in 2020 by this type of malware, and the ransomware gang refused payments afterwards, threatening to leak private data in order to make a point.
An average university should have about 5000 students, and that's still quite a number of people, records and identities can easily be misconstrued and tempered with, and this is one of the easiest acts of fraudulence in the sphere of education.
How can identity theft be used for personal gain? Once the information in a database has been acquired, it is easy to use it for any illegal means like loans and the likes, and identity can easily be manipulated. Afterwards, a new person is produced, loans can be cleared from this act.
Apart from that, fraudsters can sell this information on the dark web. Related posts show that hackers sort after personal data such as SSN, parents' names to commit financial crimes. Thus, these records can be used to commit crimes.
This category of scams is perpetrated by staff members and learners as well. Staff who sell products to learners or receive bribes to pass learners fall under this category. Selling overpriced products, conducting side hustles, and other acts in the same manner are all considered crimes. Let us take a deeper dive into this form of crime; creation of phoney positions, faculty members creating copies of books for personal gain, conducting false research, getting involved in monetary transactions between staff and learners without the administration's consent, and more are considered duplicitous.
The list of scams in the educational sphere is long, but those mentioned earlier are the most detrimental; reasonable efforts have been made to combat these scams, and awareness is being made across institutions on the dangers and consequences of such acts.
About the author
Melanie Patterson, a professional writing tutor from papersowl.com, wrote this post. She worked for a variety of media companies and tabloids and edited a few co-produced publications. She now provides excellent coaching in writing, editing, and time management.