How To Spot A Fake Degree

how to spot a fake degree

Despite the fact that faking a degree certificate is illegal, it does still happen, and for this reason, you need to be able to spot a fake degree certificate. There are several indicators that will alert you to the fact that the certificate is not genuine, and we are going to be looking at some of these indicators down below in this article. Some of them you will think are common sense, and some are a little more hidden so it will take someone who knows what they are looking for to spot it! If you are interested in finding out how you would go about spotting a fake degree certificate, keep reading. 


One of the first things that you should be looking at is the language used on the certificate. For example, if you are looking at a certificate that has come from a UK university, then you would expect to see the words ‘with honours’ on the certificate rather than something like ‘cum laude’ which is popular with American universities. It is more common that the entire certificate should be in English rather than any other language, so watch out for this when you are trying to spot a fake certificate.

As well as this, if there is a long piece of text on the certificate, then this should be setting off alarm bells. Higher Education Institutions do not usually have blocks of text on their degree certificates as it makes it look bulky and brings down the overall appearance of the certificate. 

Check How It Has Been Signed

Another thing that you should be checking is how the certificate has been signed. In an academic institution, the signature on the degree certificate will never be printed on, so you want to be looking for a real ink signature. If you notice that this is not the case and that the signature has in fact, been printed on, it is likely a fake. Producers of fake degree certificates often have them printed all at one time, which is why the signature will also be printed. If you find that on your certificate, real ink has not been used to sign it, you are probably looking at a fake. 

Order Of Words

The order of words on a degree certificate is an obvious giveaway of a fake. It might not seem like it, but a lot of certificates get caught out for this reason, and this is because while it might be common to say ‘I went to Liverpool University’ when you are speaking to someone, this is not how it will be written on the certificate. The correct name of the institution will be printed onto the certificate so it should instead read ‘The University of Liverpool.’ If the full and proper name of the university is not on the certificate, and it has been shortened or incorrectly capitalized, then you can be fairly certain it is not authentic. 

Check For A Hologram Or Watermark

Something that a lot of forgers forget about is a watermark or a hologram, which is why this is one of the most obvious signs of a forgery. Hold the certificate up to a bright, sharp light, and you should be able to see a watermark, or you will see nothing at all. If you don’t see anything, then you need to consider that the certificate you are looking at is fake and should be disregarded. 

Spelling Mistakes

It is more common than you would probably think that fake degree certificates have some kind of spelling or grammar mistakes. There should be no spelling or grammar errors in an authentic certificate, so if you come across this, you can be fairly confident that it isn’t real. A lot of the time, the people who make the fake certificates will make these errors, but it is impossible to tell whether this is just because they are not great at English, or if they are doing it on purpose to take advantage of the buyer. Many people who buy these certificates don’t notice if there are spelling or grammar issues which is why they will probably use it as evidence to prove they have a degree or have it in a frame above their desk. 

Embossed Or Gold Seal

You will usually find that if a degree certificate is real, it will have an embossed or gold seal on it. This is not the case for all institutions, but it is traditional, and for this reason, most of them do still follow suit and have these kinds of seals. It has been reported that there are now some very sophisticated seals that look like the real deal, but aren’t. As such, if you are unsure about a seal, take it to an expert and ask for their opinion. If you don’t see a seal on the certificate at all, then it is certainly going to be a fake so make sure that you are looking for this.

Use Google

If for any reason you have become suspicious about a degree certificate, then head to Google and check the authenticity of the awarding body. Now, some of the fraudsters are very clever and can create entire profiles for institutions that do not exist, and they are becoming increasingly clever with writing reviews and such. But, it is not going to be that hard to tell if the place is genuine or not, because if it is, then there must be thousands of students who are attending and talking about the place online. If you don’t see this, then it should set off alarm bells, and you should do some deeper digging into this matter. 

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and you now know how to spot a fake degree certificate. There are more things that you can keep an eye on, but these are just some of the ones that we could come up with off the top of our head!  Look out for any of these indicators to let you know whether that degree certificate is genuine or not.