A news.com.au investigation has uncovered a sophisticated forgery business operated through Chinese-language social media. The gang, calling themselves Overseas Students Assistant HD, are charging thousands of dollars for fake Australian degrees and diplomas.

Overseas Students Assistant HD offers Australian qualifications from 42 universities and 53 TAFEs. Businesses who have seen these fake documents claim they are sourced from the same providers used by the universities themselves.

Prices for the fake documents vary from $3,500 for a ‘copy’ to $5,700 for an ‘original’. The deluxe service, for $6,500, also offers to enter the student’s name and details into the provider’s databases and link the account with the Chinese Government’s Education Department.

Speaking to news.com.au one of graduate said, “If they’re charging $6,000 it’s not cheap – it’s  going to pass the common-man test – but that’s less than one semester’s tuition for these kids.”

The forgers also offer fake diplomas able to get a student admitted to the university of  their choice; even going so far as to post a ‘testimonial’ from one such successful applicant.

Other students who have used the service claim they have used a forged medical certificate to receive a 100 per cent refund after abandoning their studies.

One post on the Chinese-language social media site said, “Chinese new year is almost here. How can you go home celebrating CNY without your degree? Contact us for a certificate now.”

The site’s profile page advertises its services as including: “Overseas education consulting, certified qualification certificate, medical certificate, solicitor’s certificate, employment, migration services.”

Tertiary education providers are outraged. Professor John Simons, the deputy vice-chancellor of academics at Macquarie University, expressed ‘deep concern’ over the forgeries. “They cheapen the significant accomplishment of our graduates and their years of hard academic study and learning.

“We hope that this matter is immediately brought to the attention of police, as it would appear to constitute fraud. Police are the only ones with the necessary resourcing and expertise to investigate a sophisticated forgery business.”

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