Cybercrimes Online Diploma Mills
Ready to finally receive your high school diploma, but don’t want to take the General Education Development (GED) test? Think your children’s time would be better spent at home because school violence and the current inadequate provision of education at their school? In Florida, many people with these same concerns have turned to online education to receive their diplomas. Online schools can allow students to learn and submit coursework online, in exchange for a diploma upon completion. However, some students of these schools have complained about being overcharged for services, and even having their supposedly accredited school disappear off the internet never to be seen again. The reality is that for every actually accredited and legitimate online school, there are even more websites that are scams that fraudulently claim federal accreditation and other misrepresentations.
These fraudulent companies are more commonly known as “diploma mills,” which are companies that offer online degrees in exchange for payment of a flat fee. Such programs require little or no coursework, and upon completion students receive diplomas that are considered virtually worthless within the legitimate academic community. The problem is that no state or federal agency regulates online schools. This lack of regulation has allowed for the proliferation of what experts estimate to be a billion-dollar industry in fraudulent diplomas. When the operators of these diploma mills feel that their fraudulent activities may soon be exposed, they can simply shut down the site and create a brand new site under another equally legitimate sounding name.
Online Diploma Mills Scam
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an adult with a high school diploma will earn an annual average of $11,000 more than those adults who did not graduate from high school. As a result, online diploma mills have preyed on those who want a quick fix to their lack of diploma problem. Not all online schools are considered diploma mills, and some online schools, such as the University of Phoenix, are actually well respected. However, an online degree program could potentially be a diploma mill in the following situations:
- No work required: It may seem obvious, but an online degree program that provides a diploma without requiring the completion of coursework or exams is most likely a diploma mill. A diploma mill may exist when an online degree program does not have an actual brick and mortar location, or lacks actual personnel and teachers with whom students can communicate directly.
- Experience-based degrees: An online university claiming to provide diplomas totally on the basis of life or work experiences may not be a legitimate online school. While accredited online colleges may provide a few course credits for specific experience related to the underlying degree program, such institutions would not provide a degree solely on such experiences.
- Flat fees: An online degree program requiring flat fees is most certainly a diploma mill. This is because federally accredited and legitimate online schools typically charge per semester, course or credit, and not on a flat fee in exchange for a diploma.
Diploma mills are a type of cybercrime that ends up costing unsuspecting victims large amounts of lost time and money. Though the operators of diploma mills typically escape prosecution, this is not always the case. In fact, the president of the Tri-Valley University diploma mill was recently convicted in federal court for her part in the school’s money laundering, fraud, and illegal immigrant harboring acts. If you need legal defense in a cybercrime case or any other white-collar crime, contact cybercrime defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. in Miami, Florida today.