No such thing as a free diploma
I suspect the number of people who would really fall for this is small, but the volume of spam I’ve been receiving lately is so high, I can’t resist highlighting the fake diploma scammers.
Of course, there is no such thing as education or qualification without work. You cannot get any kind of real diploma or degree without doing the work. Some people are given honorary degrees for previous service or well-known contributions to society, but these are honors, not actual qualifications for anything. To get an authentic diploma or degree, you have to enroll in school, you have to go to class, you have to do the work, and you have to pass the exams. Anyone who tells you differently is lying.
And since lying is involved, it should come as no surprise that spammers are using this lie to try to generate business. The surprise is the scale at which they’re doing it. In the month of July, I received 226 spam e-mail messages trying to convince me I could get a degree without doing any work. And so far in the first 5 days of August I’ve received 111. That’s an average of 22 per day!
These messages come in one of several formats:
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 22:42:33 +0900
From: “Williams Vang” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Call right now for your degree.
GET YOUR DIPLOMA TODAY!If you are looking for a fast and effective way to get a diploma,(non accredited) this is the best way out for you. Provide us with degree you are interested in. Call us right now on: For US: 1.718.989.5746 Outside US: +1.718.989.5746 “Just leave your NAME & PHONE NO. (with CountryCode)” in the voicemail.
Our staff will get back to you in next few days!
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 03:41:14 GMT
From: Ana <AnaOrourke68@peoplepc.com>
Subject: Need a University Degree to obtain the career youve always wanted?
No Exams! No Study! No Classes!
Lines are Open 24 x 7
Source: University Watch Inc.
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 17:58:19 -0800
We provide a program that will allow anyone with sufficient qualifications to grab a fully verifiable University Degree – Bachelors, Masters or even a Doctorate.
Call us today
[1.305 460 8014] Leave your msg including your full name and number to contact you back
Our professor will get back to you shortly.
In my experience, the frequency of the message is directly proportional to the desperation of the sender. These fake diploma mills have been going, off and on, for several years, but in the past few months the volume has picked up considerably. I hope that means they’re nearly out of business because nobody is falling for them! Besides the obvious, that you can’t get something of value for no effort, let’s consider what else is wrong with these messages:
- Message #1 is at least truthful where it says “non-accredited.” A non-accredited diploma means a diploma of absolutely no value whatsoever. Even when such ads do not say this, you can bet it will be true.
- Message #2 claims “Prestigious University.” Unless that’s the name of the university, then it won’t be true. Come to think of it, since “University” is capitalized, maybe that is the name of the university. That’s probably what the diploma they send you (if they do even send you one) says. Wow, that’ll look good on the old resume, eh? “I got my degree from Prestigious University! I have such fond memories of my days out on the quadrangle at old PU!”
- Another spam trend these days is to add a “Source:” to the end of a message, a not so veiled attempt at authenticity. Of course, this is almost always made up. There is no such organization as University Watch, Inc. Unless the source cites a specific article or URL, it’s nearly guaranteed to be bogus.
- None of these messages provides anything but a phone number. Don’t you think a real company would provide a name? All of the messages I have received recently contain one of five phone numbers: 718-989-5746, 845-709-8044, 305-460-8014, 305-460-2272, and 305-460-5721. If you look them up, you’ll find they are either unlisted land lines or cell phone numbers. No legitimate business has an unlisted or cell phone number as their main point of contact.
- They try to add authenticity to the scam in #3 by saying “our professor will get back to you shortly.” They only have one professor? Of course, they have no staff or professors, the reason they want you to leave a message is because they aren’t even legitimate enough to have a receptionist. The scammer is off running other scams when you call, but he’ll get right back to you!
I’m even giving them the benefit of the doubt that they’re your normal run-of-the-mill scammer. They might actually take your credit card information and sell it on the black market. Then you’ll have a degree from The School Of Hard Knocks. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can get a degree without doing any work. All you can get is swindled.
UPDATE [10-Aug-2009]: You might know, just as I post something about them, they change formats and add phone numbers:
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 09:07:34 +0200
From: “Norris Lloyd” <email@example.com>
Subject: Too busy -to g.o back -to school? care care’er health. training
We offer a program that will help ANYONE with professional experience get a 100% verified Dgeree: Msaters, Matsers, Matsers.
Regardless of your location, you can receive a degree in your desired field. All you need is sufficient knowledge, military, or professional experience and you are on your way to an instant degree in your relevant field.
Unlock the doors. No Examination!. No books!.
Many people share the same frustration, they are doing the work of the person that has the degree and the person that has the degree is getting all the money. Do not you think that it is time you were paid fair compensation for the level of work you are already doing?
Give us a call NOW!
+ 1 – 8O1 – 461 – 5O23
Please leave us your:
1) Your Name
2) Your Country
3) Phone No. with countrycode if outside USA
We will get back to you ASAP
Do Not Reply to this Email.
We do not reply to text inquiries, and our server will reject all response traffic.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
Of course, they aren’t sorry about anything except that you might choose wisely and ignore them. What business has ever used “Respects” as a salutation? Ha! The irony there is they have no respect for you, they see you only as a victim to be fooled into handing them money.
Notice how they misspell Masters so that spam filters can’t flag it. Do you really want a degree from a place that can’t spell the degree? And they put the letter O in the phone number in place of zero, presumably also to thwart spam filters or automated phone number lookups. So let me add the numbers numerically and with other obfuscations they use so that people searching for them will find this post. Phone numbers for the fake diploma scam include:
- 1-202-466-1651 / 1.202.466.1651 / 202 466 1651
- 1-213-403-0133 / 1.213.403.0133 / 213 403 0133
- 1-213-403-0137 / 1.213.403.0137 / 213 403 0137
- 1-215-552-8128 / 1.215.552.8128 / 215 552 8128 / (215)*552*8128
- 1-215-602-2419 / 1.215.602.2419 / 215 602 2419
- 1-248-213-1421 / 184.108.40.2061 / 248 213 1421
- 1-305-460-2272 / 1.305.460.2272 / 305 460 2272
- 1-305-460-5721 / 1.305.460.5721 / 305 460 5721
- 1-305-460-8014 / 1.305.460.8014 / 305 460 8014
- 1-310-205-2502 / 1.310.205.2502 / 310 205 2502
- 1-312-260-7939 / 1.312.260.7939 / 312 260 7939
- 1-313-483-0920 / 1.313.483.0920 / 313 483 0920
- 1-317-578-5405 / 1.317.578.5405 / 317 578 5405
- 1-410-624-2493 / 1.410.624.2493 / 410 624 2493
- 1-410-624-2544 / 1.410.624.2544 / 410 624 2544
- 1-601-812-5750 / 1.601.812.5750 / 601 812 5750 / +1-6O1-812-575O
- 1-602-212-6729 / 1.602.212.6729 / 602 212 6729
- 1-646-537-1732 / 1.646.537.1732 / 646 537 1732
1 646-53 717-32 / 1 646 53717-32 / +1 646 537 17-32
+1 64-65371732 / 16465371732 / +16465371732
+1 6465371732 / +1 6-46537 1732 / +1 64-65371732
+1 646 5-371732 / +1 646 537-1732 / +1 646-537 1732
+1 64653-71732 / +1 646537-1732 / +1-6465371732
+16-465371732 / +164-65371732 / +1646 53-71732
+1646-5371732 / +16465-371732 / +1646537-1732
1 64-6537 1732 / 6465371732 / 6-46537 1732
64-65371732 / 64-6537 1732 / 646 5-371732
64653-71732 / 646537-1732
- 1-718-989-5740 / 1.718.989.5740 / 718 989 5740
- 1-718-989-5746 / 1.718.989.5746 / 718 989 5746
- 1-801-461-5023 / 1.801.461.5023 / 801 461 5023
- 1-813-273-8151 / 1.813.273.8151 / 813 273 8151
- 1-813-283 2668 / 1-813-283-2668 / 1.813.283.2668 / 813 283 2668
- 1-816-292-2839 / 1.816.292.2839 / 816 292 2839
- 1-845-709-8044 / 1.845.709.8044 / 845 709 8044
- 1-913-562-0421 / 1.913.562.0421 / 913 562 0421
- 1-916-484-3706 / 1.916.484.3706 / 916 484 3706