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I have paid $1000 for PhD in mathematics. And I have sent them my book to be considered as a PhD thesis.

Now I suspect that I have lost the money.

But as far as I know they are not accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

So, is it possible that I will find a job requiring a degree, using this (fake?) PhD?

Now they have told me that the U.S. Department of Education will send my diploma to US foreign affairs department and then they will make some "stumps" on my diploma. Do these stamps mean anything? Are these stamps just a formal thing which mean nothing and don't make my degree "official" ("real")? Moreover, to send my diploma to the departments costs additional $1000-$1750 (dependent on whether I pay right now or later).

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At best, this sounds like you've paid $1000 for a worthless piece of paper. At worst, this sounds like a scam. No credible university would do this, and listing such a "degree" could even be damaging to your CV. A "life experience degree" is not a University degree. –  Moriarty Jun 14 at 19:32
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Life-experience degree sounds like a euphemism for "you were duped." –  leonardo Jun 14 at 19:37
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I am having trouble believing anyone would actually pay for this. –  Marc Claesen Jun 14 at 20:36
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@Marc: Scams which no one falls for don't exist for very long. This particular OP has been trying to do "independent mathematical research" for several years now. I find the news that he has been exploited in this way truly heartbreaking. I think that mainstream academics should have more sympathy for people like this -- there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a mathematician. For some people wanting to be a mathematician is a very unrealistic goal, but that does not mean that they deserve to be cheated! –  Pete L. Clark Jun 14 at 21:17
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@Marc: The document submitted by the OP is longer than most PhD theses in mathematics. The OP has been working on and trying to publish it for several years: longer than many PhD students spend working on their thesis. Content issues aside, I believe is 100% sincere. Further, there is nothing inherently immoral about paying money in pursuit of an academic degree: many of us would be out of a job if that were the case. Characterizing the OP's behavior as cheating seems to miss many of the heartbreaking nuances of the situation. I hope you'll reconsider your lack of sympathy. –  Pete L. Clark Jun 15 at 13:20
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2 Answers 2

You have lost the money whether or not the "university" gives you the degree.

You have given your money to what is known as a diploma mill. A long time ago (nearly two decades!), I received an email offering degrees from "prestigious, non-accredited universities" based on life experience. This is a complete and total scam. Even if you have a diploma, it will be useless for professional purposes. Anybody responsible for hiring a PhD will see that there is no work resulting from your "graduate career," which will be a tipoff that the degree is worthless, and you will be unlikely to receive a job offer. Worse still, even if you were to get an offer, it could be rescinded when the truth is uncovered.

Disengage now, before you lose any further money on this situation.

Addendum: I should also mention that I am unaware of the US Department of Education doing any certification of diplomas and certificates on an individual basis.

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I believe the "stamps" he refers to is notarization of the signature on the diploma (see "apostille") –  ff524 Jun 14 at 22:07
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@ff524: Maybe so. But that would in any case not be the US Department of Education. –  aeismail Jun 14 at 22:34
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More significantly, notarization of the signature on the diploma doesn't signify anything about the degree the diploma is supposed to reflect –  ff524 Jun 15 at 4:51
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Wikipedia has a list of animals with degrees from diploma mills: List of animals with fraudulent diplomas –  Andrew Grimm Jun 15 at 7:13
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@QuoraFeans: What I meant is that even if the university sends the degree, the money is "lost" in that the degree is worthless. (And given that it doesn't appear to be a US outfit, good luck suing them.) –  aeismail Jun 15 at 20:16
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In case there was any doubt, I have asked them. This is the conversation I had with them (some irrelevant parts omitted):

Albert: Hello, I have written a book on Mathematics that I would like to turn into a PhD thesis
Albert: what do I have to do?
Their Guy:What is your highest level of education?
Albert: I have a Masters degree in mathematics
Their Guy: Ph.D degree will cost you $1100.00 (USD)
Their Guy:
• 1 Original Accredited Degree
• 2 Original Transcripts
• 1 Award of Excellence
• 1 Certificate of Distinction
• 1 Certificate of Membership
• 4 Education Verification Letters
Albert: how long will it take to complete it?
Albert: I already have the thesis, it is a 300 pages book
Their Guy: When are you planning to enroll?
Albert: as soon as possible
Albert: once the payment and the thesis are sent, how long will it take to have it accepted?
Senior Guy: Alright you have been transferred to senior student counselor
Senior Guy: Shipment Details :-
Senior Guy:2 set of documents we are going to send you in total in 2 separate shipments.
-First set of degree documents will be sent in just 15 - 20 working days with all 10 degree documents without attestations.
-Second set of documents will be sent in only 25 - 30 working days with complete and comprehensive attestations with all above mentioned authorities.
Senior Guy: Total Fee Submission including all registrations would be $1700.00 USD ( $1100 + $600 )
Albert: how long will it take you to review my thesis?
Senior Guy: Well it will take us 24 Hours
Senior Guy: Forward your resume & thesis on sguy@paymeuniversity.com
Albert: thank you, you have been most enlightening

So, they are reviewing 300 pages in 24 h (where it should take like a year). They do no checking whatsoever on what I would be submitting.

I am sorry, but you have lost the money.

Edit:

I have found something funny. The faculty (only visiting faculty seems visible for our university) is the same as, including pictures and order, in another online university and another one and another and yet another one, ¡and even more! (and at least, 5 more, but you get the point); all of them looking equally suspicious.

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A thesis shouldn't take a year to review! –  aeismail Jun 14 at 20:39
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@aeismail: It depends on what you mean by "reviewing the thesis". If you mean that a committee member gets a lot less than one year to sit with a thesis before the defense: yes, I have sometimes been given less than three weeks. However, paperwork aside the vast majority of the reviewing is done by the thesis advisor. If you count the amount of time the advisor spends discussing and vetting the work with the student: less than a year is not impossible but would be very, very fast. Anyway, this is probably not the point... –  Pete L. Clark Jun 14 at 21:23
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Boy, they found some unreasonably fresh-faced and perky visiting professors to clone, didn't they? –  dmckee Jun 15 at 4:11
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The faculty pics are pretty obviously stock photos. –  xLeitix Jun 15 at 7:58
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… as can easily be determined using Google image search. –  Daniel Beck Jun 15 at 10:54
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protected by aeismail Jun 14 at 21:39

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