Did you get your degree in nutritional and health sciences from James Adam University? Your cyber crime bachelor’s from Brooklyn Park? Or did you attend Hansford University, or Harvey? A graduate of Mary Grand High School or West Coast High? You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but you wasted your money.

The New York Times published a thorough investigation into Axact, a Pakistani company that reportedly operates at least 370 scam online schools and bunk accreditation bodies. Many of the schools have stock photo-laden websites like the one pictured above and names that are just a shade away from those of actual American institutions and college towns, like Barkley University, Chapel University, and Columbiana University. (Others, like Panworld University and Accredited Online Degrees Now, are more immediately fishy.)

The Times reports that some Axact customers know exactly what they’re getting themselves into—that is, shelling out thousands of dollars for a fake high school diploma or college degree that doesn’t require any actual coursework—while others are duped into thinking they will receive a legitimate education. A man in the latter category who hoped to obtain a master’s degree from Axact’s Grant Town University told the paper that the scam went so deep as to involve a man posing as a U.S. government official who called him and urged him to shell out more money to the company.

Axact, whose revenue the Times estimates at several million dollars per month, has broadly denied the veracity of the report. A statement posted to the company’s website argues that the Times published its story “to hurt the success of BOL,” a Pakistani media company launched by Axact. Read the full Times story here and a list of every Axact-affiliated education scam uncovered by the investigation here.


Image via Axact. Contact the author at andy@gawker.com.