Covid creates new marketplace for contract fraud, new CDU study finds
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.
Their results show that contract fraud is an increasing challenge for the global academic community, especially during COVID-19, which is shifting from ghostwriting to ghost student.
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 has exacerbated the problem as more and more students attempted to “cheat the online system” in digital learning.
“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 also became a trigger for new players in the room. It’s an open border and a new marketplace for contract fraud.
“We are interested in what is happening in terms of online behavior and what the online environment allows.”
Co-Author and Senior Lecturer for Business Law, Dr. Hill said there was no winner in contract fraud, a race to the bottom.
“Once the students get into the job, they can no longer do tasks because they missed the knowledge and skills, so the professional community suffers, too,” said Dr. Hill.
“There are also many cases in which students were promised a plagiarism-free job by ghostwriters, but they were not delivered. They couldn’t complain because they feared they would be reported to the university.
“The purpose of our study is not to catch certain 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 collaboration model to address this problem. We all have a responsibility to try to identify the problem and help solve it. “
You can find the published journal article here.
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