Thirty Chinese universities have been exposed as fake by the government just in time before the new school year opens for this year.
The number adds up to the total of 400 fake universities discovered by education website Sdaxue.com since 2013, reports state media Xinhua. The new batch of fake colleges spanned 12 provinces and regions including Beijing, Shanghai and Shandong.
Investigators believe the same scammers are operating multiple fake colleges based on the discovery that three fake institutions in the provinces of Guangdong, Shandong and Hunan shared the same IP address registered in Hong Kong.
Sdaxue founder Xia Xue explained that the education site investigates suspicious colleges based on names that were sent in by concerned netizens via email or social media.
“It is easy to see through the trick when they fake the names of well-known universities, but it is more difficult to identify if lesser-known institutions are faked,” Xue told the state media.
Xue explained that fraudulent colleges use deceiving names and website designs that imitate established institutions to dupe unwitting students into paying tuition and providing personal information.
For the most recent batch, the sixth so far since 2013, majority used the names of private colleges specializing in adult education. Authorities are investigating the list further with the help of the police.
Earlier this month, about ten million high school pupils across the country were subjected to intense pressure to perform well on the universities’ standardized entrance tests known as the “Gaokao”, with their families expecting them to do well and enroll in a promising institution