COVID-19 creates a new marketplace for contract fraud


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A new study by academics at Charles Darwin University (CDU) examines the extent and impact of contract fraud in the global academic community during COVID-19. CDU-Associated Professor for Education Dr. Jon Mason and Senior Business Law Lecturer Dr. Guzyal Hill recently published their research on the scope and extent of contract fraud.

Contract fraud can be defined as students paying to have a third party complete their exams. The study results show that contract fraud is an increasing challenge for the global academic community, especially during COVID-19, in the transition from ghostwriting to ghost students.

In one form of action research, one of the researchers went undercover while studying, looking for a variety of web-based services from global contract fraudsters.

The method allowed them to analyze some of the most popular providers and identify the extent of contract fraud services that are made easily accessible to university students. For example, a Google search for the term “allocation aid” in 2021 yields more than 300 million results.

The researchers also wanted to raise awareness among faculty and universities of the diversification and importance of this dangerous practice on a global scale.

Associate Professor Jon Mason said COVID-19 had exacerbated the problem as more and more students tried to defraud the online system while studying digitally.

“COVID has resulted in a whole host of new services being made available to people. It was a catalyst for so many changes in formal education and created new experiences for teaching and learning online in universities and schools, ”said Assoc Prof. Mason. “But it has also become a trigger for new players in the field. It is an open frontier and a new marketplace for contract fraud. We are interested in knowing what is happening in terms of online behavior and what is happening in the online environment allows.”

Co-author and lecturer in business law, Dr. Hill said there was no winner in contract fraud, a race to the bottom. “Once students get into the job, they can no longer do tasks because they missed the knowledge and skills, so the professional community also suffers,” said Dr. Hill.

“There are also many cases in which students were promised a plagiarism-free assignment by ghostwriters, but it did not keep. They couldn’t complain because they feared they would be reported to the university. The purpose of our study is not to catch specific students, but to find solutions to the problem. “

As Dr. Hill states, the study suggests that contract fraud is a global problem and requires multi-tiered solutions involving academics, universities and the global community.

“It is not the fault or the sole responsibility of any single university. Lecturers and academics often rely on plagiarism detection tools like Turnitin, but research has shown that there are smarter devices out there that can outsmart these tools, ”she said.

“So there has to be a collaborative model to address this problem. We all have a responsibility to try to identify the problem and help resolve it.”

A New Law Against Contract Fraud and Essay Mills?

More information:
Guzyal Hill et al., Contract Fraud: A Growing Challenge for the Global Academic Community Due to COVID-19, Research and practice in technology-based learning (2021). DOI: 10.1186 / s41039-021-00166-8

Provided by Charles Darwin University

Quote: Study: COVID-19 creates a new marketplace for contract fraud (2021, October 11), accessed on October 12, 2021 from

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