Some high-profile people have been fired over faking a degree, such as George O'Leary five days after Notre Dame University hired him as a football coach in 2001, according to Cary McMullen of The Ledger. Even if a company does not catch resume fraud immediately, lying about a degree could cost an employee his job down the line, especially when he is in line for a promotion and the employer reviews his credentials.
Most firms perform a background check on all applicants, which might include degree verification, according to MSNBC. Thus it is risky to put a phony degree on a resume, because you never know which companies will verify it. Usually, a company only needs to call up an applicant's college and verify the degree with the registrar. Verification can happen at any time, especially when the employee moves into a management position.
Lying on a resume includes more than just faking a degree at an institution you never attended. Some companies -- called diploma mills -- exist solely to award diplomas that might require nothing more than sending in a check. Most employers will not consider an education from a diploma mill valid, especially because some applicants use it to pad their resume. Employers also watch for lying about which degree you earned, such as claiming a master's when you only received a bachelor's.
If an employee is willing to lie about something significant, such as a degree, he may try other unethical practices on the job. Although the Internet has increased the number of diploma mills available to consumers, it also offers simple ways to verify a degree. For a small charge, companies will verify a degree for an employer. Some companies are so nervous about fake degrees that they refuse foreign applicants if their university's registrar does not speak English.
Diploma mills can pay so much attention to detail, such as issuing class rings, that they fool companies and applicants. Thus job seekers verify the accreditation of any school with the Department of Education. Also, do not lie about college honors, such as graduating magna cum laude or appearing on the dean's list.