Friday, 13 July 2012


I really love getting feedback, it makes my day. It’s wonderfully rewarding to get emails, calls and letters from people saying they like what we do, what we write and what we say. When they say that we’ve helped them to solve a problem, or better still to avoid being abused that’s even more pleasing.

We’ve had a huge response in particular regarding fake universities and the fake degrees they offer. I really think there’s a growing realization that people with fake degrees are themselves fakes. It’s really quite simple. Anyone smart enough to recognize that they will advance their career with a degree, smart enough to have a credit card and smart enough to use the internet is also smart enough to know that you cannot get a real degree without doing coursework, submitting assignments and sitting exams. They’re not that stupid. They know that the degree they bought with their credit card is a fake and that they are as well.

A large number of these fake universities actually seem to be run by the same company in Pakistan. Most of the ones we’ve named in the past are part of this group, including a popular one calling itself “Headway University”. This “university” is no more than a web site that takes credit card details in return for fake degrees. Despite claiming accreditation from various bodies, they are not recognized by any genuine authority. The accreditation bodies they claim have approved them are fakes as well, set up by the same people who set up the “university” web sites.

Having criticized these fraudsters repeatedly it was no surprise when someone got in touch, not this time to praise us, but to hassle us instead. About a month ago we received a letter from a company claiming to be a law firm called Joyce and Nielsen. Their letter claimed that our comments were defamatory and had “already caused some serious financial damages to our client” and accused us of “extortion, blackmailing, and cyber bullying”. They demanded that we remove anything bad we’d said about the Headway crooks on our blog and explain ourselves, all within 72 hours.

Here’s a strange thing. This law firm doesn’t seem to have an office, they’re just a web site. Even stranger is that the content of their web site appears to have been taken, often word-for-word, from the web sites of other law firms. I don’t believe that Joyce & Nielsen actually exist. They’re a fake as well.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that fake threats from fake lawyers about fake universities deserve fake respect. Our comments about the fake Headway “University” remain on the blog and you can read the ridiculous threatening letter there as well.

We’ve also had feedback on various pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes recently, almost all of it constructive and supportive. However we’ve also heard from people who are clearly in the depths of denial. Even when we point out that the founders of these schemes are under investigation by the South African authorities, have had earlier but identical businesses shut down or have even had their members arrested and prosecuted, they still seem to have their eyes fixed on the illusory prospect of riches and fortunes. Riches and fortunes they have to pay for and for which they must recruit other victims.

Despite all the evidence these religious-cult-like schemes still gather more and more members, or should I say victims.

It’s a very sad situation when somebody clearly needs help but doesn’t recognize it. It’s like that relative or friend we’ve probably all had who has a serious addiction to booze or drugs. No matter how carefully you try and raise the issue and explain how they’re destroying themselves, they won’t have it. You know that sooner or later you’re going to see them in despair and there’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do is hope they survive the eventual fall.

We’ve also had responses from people supporting companies who sell the most ridiculous products. A company called Qnet, who used to call themselves Questnet, sell the silliest item I’ve seen in years, the so-called BioDisc. This is a piece of engraved glass they claim possesses magical properties. For instance they say that it can “redefine and harmonise the energy of water, greatly maximising its positive affect on the human body” and that it “makes water more hydratious, which therefore improves the compatibility of water molecules with the body’s cells”. This is, of course, pseudoscientific crap. They use clever-sounding words like luminescence, photons and biocompatibility but none of what they claim makes any sense at all. The claims they make about this and their other products are just ridiculous, untrue and illegal.

When we commented on this I got a message from someone suggesting that as I’ve never actually used this product I wasn’t qualified to comment on it’s health-giving properties. That’s just silly. I’ve no personal experience of shooting myself in the head but I think I’m qualified to say that it’s a really bad idea.

They were even more unhappy when I pointed out that Qnet has been declared a pyramid scheme in countries as varied as Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, India, Iran, Nepal, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey and the USA.

So please keep the feedback coming in, please tell us what you like, what you think we should investigate and who we should be exposing. Also, if you think we need to be cheered up, write to us and tell us how your particular pyramid scheme, magical bit of glass or fake university or college is actually a miracle that will bring people prosperity, health and happiness. We need a laugh.

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