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Someone I know is apparently claiming to have obtained PhD when I know for a fact that he did not. He is working in a biomedical company and having himself presented as Dr. Is there a way to have this checked out?

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    Sure, contact the registrar's office of the University from which he claims to have graduated. – Dave Kanter Apr 2 '15 at 20:56
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    Are you asking how to check it (which seems odd, given that you already know he doesn't have a PhD), or how to get their employer to run the check? – 410 gone Apr 3 '15 at 9:10
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Sure, just contact the registrar's office of the University from which he claims to have graduated.

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There are several commercial degree and credential verification services. All of them are commercial and so I don't want to advertise them here, but you can easily find them through Google:

(You can also do the google search for credential verification if you're looking for some way to tell if this person really has a medical board certification, for example).

If you know which university they have graduated from, you might be able to call their registrar and ask to verify. Note that many universities have stopped providing this service and will refer you instead to the company that is the top-hit in the "degree verification services" search above.

Part of this is because verifying students has become a burden in a time of diminishing staff budgets. Trying to figure out if "John Doe" may or may not have graduated some time in the early 1990s with a BA or maybe an MA in one of the schools at a large university... can easily take up half an hour or more of staff time.

Second, universities are also worried about violating student educational privacy (FERPA) if they accidentally reveal too much information about a student's status at a school. Even if not, they may not want to accept legal liability for false positives or negatives.

Thus, it's much easier and less legally fraught for them to outsource verification to a private, third party company.

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    lmgtfy links are usually taken to be unconstructive across StackExchange, partly because of that site's sarcastic "Was that so hard?" – 410 gone Apr 3 '15 at 9:12
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    I think it is appropriate here, since it is being used to provide non obvious information without showing favoritism. – jakebeal Apr 3 '15 at 18:52
  • Doing some more digging, the top clearinghouse is a 501(c)3 and not for-profit. According some digging, they have data on 90%+ of student data. I still feel uncomfortable providing a direct link to them, advice? – RoboKaren Apr 3 '15 at 19:22
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    They could have just added a Google link, rather than a lmgtfy link, which would have had less snark. – Jeremy Miles Apr 3 '15 at 19:24
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    I've created a meta discussion for this issue: meta.academia.stackexchange.com/questions/1684/… – RoboKaren Apr 3 '15 at 19:29

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