Friday, 11 January 2019

Academic fraud

Who's the crook, the person you pay to write your dissertation for you, or you for paying for it?

Here's an advertisement spotted on Facebook earlier today.


The advertisement said that their service was "100% Confidential" and "100% satisfaction guaranteed". They promise that the work they produce "is guaranteed to meet the grade you order" and that we should "get a quote for our writing services today and finish your studies with a grade that you can be proud of".


I contacted the advertiser, Victor Mangoma in Zimbabwe, and this was the critical part of our conversation:
Me: Hi. Can you really write my dissertation for me? How much will this cost?
Victor: Good morning. Which program are you doing?
Me: Sociology. I need a dissertation on the radical sociological movements of the 1970s.
Victor: Okay, is it for undergraduate or Masters?
Me: Masters
Victor: We can assist you, it'll cost $900 US.
Me: So I can submit this dissertation as if I wrote it?
Victor: Yes, you'll have full ownership of the work. We won't use it anywhere else. Your privacy is also guaranteed.
Me: So this means I can complete my Masters without doing any real work?
Victor: Correct, we can even do the whole data collection process for you but an extra cost.
So, for $900 (about P9,000), they'll write my dissertation for me. And I can then complete my Masters without doing any real work? "Correct", they say.

What's the word I'm looking for? Oh yes, "fraud", that's it. And "plagiarism", that's another good word.

Anyone buying such a service has committed fraud and, if caught, will be thrown out of their educational establishment and if they've already obtained a qualification it'll be revoked. They could even lose their job and reputation. They might even be prosecuted for "obtaining by false pretence".

One last thing. They told me that their company, "WritersBlock" has "been assisting students all over Africa for the past 4 years". I asked whether they'd helped any students in Botswana and I was told that: "We assisted 4 Undergraduate and 3 Masters students last year". He obviously wouldn't name them but when I asked which universities they were attending, he said "2 from Botho University and the rest UB". The subjects were "Accounting, Business Administration. Media studies and Social Work".

Are you one of those people? Or is Victor just making things up?

And those selling such services? They're frauds as well and they know it.