Increase in pay-to-cheat assignments to universities during the pandemic

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The pandemic affected many aspects of university life, including an increase in paid fraud, suggests a new study from Charles Darwin University (CDU).

The CDU’s Jon Mason and Guzyal Hill noted that during the pandemic, contract fraud, where a student pays someone else to do their chores, increased to bypass online reviews.

“COVID has resulted in a whole host of new services being made available to people,” says Mason. “It was a catalyst for so many changes in formal education and created new experiences for teaching and learning online in universities and schools.

“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.”

To find out, one of the researchers looked for web-based services from global contract fraudsters as a student. Many of them have been able to defraud online systems that were introduced during the pandemic, so that the fraud shifts from mere “ghost writing” to “ghost study”.


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Although this seems like an easy way to get through college in a difficult year, Hill says there is no real winner when it comes to contract fraud.

“Once the students [graduate and] When they get into the job, they can’t do tasks because they missed the knowledge and skills, so the professional community suffers, too, ”explains 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.”

The authors say that contract fraud is a global problem and requires academics and universities around the world to work together to tackle the fraud method.

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

“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. “

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