Jamaican employers are being alerted that scammers are selling bogus degrees and other academic certificates to people desperate to get jobs.
For six times less than the amount an average student would pay for tuition at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, in three years, a counterfeit degree can be obtained within days by anyone wishing to bypass going through the process legitimately.
Fraudsters now have both the UWI and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) worried as the job market tightens and the demand for certification increases. A fake UWI bachelor’s degree can be obtained for JA$150,000 (KY$860) while an associate degree can be had for $100,000 (KY$574).
The fraudulent documents are being advertised on social media as well as websites, with claims being made that contacts in the institutions allow the process to take place seamlessly. But monies have to be first wired to a bank account with a requirement of a photo showing the transaction reference number being sent to the those running the scheme.
Professor Errol Morrison, Chairman of the University Council of Jamaica, said that while the fraud is not new, fraudsters are becoming technically advanced. “When you look at some of these certificates, they look just like the real ones,” he said adding that there are protocols to catch people trying to cheat their way into jobs.