“Very little in this virtual realm is real”. This is how New York Times describes the network of alleged education institutions offering fake accreditations run by Axact, a software company in Pakistan. Aggressive sale agents cajole clients seeking real education into enrolling for coursework that never materializes. Ruses include impersonating American government officials and using tricky names for institutions, such as Barkley or Columbiana . Shoaib Ahmed Saikh, Axact’s founder and chief executive, is supposed to be using benefits from fake degrees to fund his own media group, BOL. Allen Ezell, a retired FBI agent, explains the fraud with further detail in his book Accreditation Mills.
Most of the clients seeking real education are scammed and pushed to pay large amounts of money under very diverse threats. However, such an established business wouldn’t be generating dozens millions in profits every year since 1997 without people willing to pay for fake degrees, hoping to secure a promotion or pad their résumé. People keen to buy certificates are the main driver of those companies, clearly degrading the reputation of online Education.
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