How to Prevent Credential Fraud in 2023

We can confidently say 2023 is the year of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This year, tools such as ChatGPT, Midjourney, DALL-E, BARD and more have become widely available, helping users bring ideas to life and improve skills. In education, AI has allowed institutions to enter a new era of personalised learning, intelligent tutoring, and data-driven educational insights. 

However, as with any technological breakthrough, the immense potential of AI comes with a few challenges, one of which is the use of these tools to fabricate diplomas and certificates. 

The rise of AI-generated content and sophisticated forgery techniques has posed a significant threat to the integrity of educational credentials. Individuals can use AI to create highly realistic, yet fake, diplomas and other educational documents. Forgeries undermine the credibility of the education system, can potentially harm an institution’s reputation, and deceive employers and academic institutions. 

This article discusses how AI is being used to fake documents and what tools institutions can use to prevent and identify fraud, maintaining the credibility of their business. 

How is AI used to create fake documents?

AI tools have been used to fake a variety of documents, and there are risks employers and educational institutions will come across some of these forgeries.

Before we discuss how this can be prevented, let’s look at how AI is being used to create fake documents. By understanding how technology creates these problems, we can pay more attention to the signs of forgery. 

Text generation

AI language models, like GPT-3, can generate human-like text. These models can be given specific data input, such as the name of an educational institution, the graduate’s name, and other details, and they may generate a convincing diploma or certificate text.

Template generation

AI can be used to analyse legitimate diploma or certificate templates, learning the layout, fonts, colours, and other design elements used. It can then create similar templates for fake documents that closely resemble the real ones.

Signature forgery

AI algorithms can even attempt to replicate the signature of relevant authorities or officials who sign diplomas and certificates. This involves analysing existing signatures or using style transfer techniques to mimic the signatures accurately.

Seal and logo generation

AI-based image generation techniques can create official seals, logos, or watermarks of educational institutions, making the fake documents appear more authentic.

Data manipulation

If an attacker gains access to a legitimate educational institution’s database, AI could be used to manipulate records and create fake entries for non-existent graduates.

How to identify if AI was used to create fake documents

Identifying if a document has been faked using AI can be challenging, as AI-generated content can closely resemble genuine documents. However, businesses can employ various strategies and tools to detect potential fakes. 

Here are some approaches to help identify if a document has been faked using AI:

Digital forensics

Expert digital forensics investigators can analyse the document’s metadata, such as creation date, authorship information, and editing history. Suspicious patterns or inconsistencies may indicate tampering or AI involvement.

Document watermarks and encryption

Use digital watermarks or encryption on important documents to make it harder for forgers to create convincing fakes.

Signature analysis

Compare signatures on the document with known authentic signatures to check for inconsistencies. 

Template analysis

Analyse the template of documents and verify if they are too generic or easy to copy. If it is too common, it is more likely to be used in fakes. 

Text analysis

Consider the text used in the documents and analyse potential patterns that might indicate an AI tool was used to fake it.

Image analysis

Analyse and detect signs of image manipulation and use reverse image search to identify if logos and seals have been used by other institutions. 

The importance of preventing credential fraud

Preventing and identifying forgeries of diplomas, certificates, and credentials is extremely important. 

To prevent the misuse of AI in creating fake diplomas, educational institutions and organisations can employ robust security measures, such as implementing digital signatures, using blockchain technology for document verification, and regularly updating security features to stay ahead of potential forgers. 

Additionally, promoting awareness about the risks and consequences of fake diplomas can discourage individuals from attempting to use such deceptive means to obtain credentials.

Preventing the misuse of AI to copy diplomas is crucial for several reasons:

Integrity and credibility

Diplomas and certificates are formal credentials that represent the educational achievements of individuals. Allowing the creation of fake diplomas using AI undermines the integrity and credibility of the educational system. It devalues the efforts of genuine students who have worked hard to earn their qualifications.

Employment and education opportunities

Fake diplomas can mislead employers and educational institutions into making wrong hiring or admission decisions. This can lead to unqualified individuals occupying positions they are not competent to handle, affecting the overall performance of organisations and the quality of education.

Trust and reputation

Educational institutions rely on the trust of employers, students, and the general public. If fake diplomas become prevalent, it erodes the trust in the education system and damages the reputation of the issuing institution.

Economic impact

Hiring individuals based on fake diplomas can result in financial losses for companies due to poor performance or the need to rehire qualified candidates. Additionally, society may bear the costs of unqualified professionals providing inadequate services.

Legal consequences

Issuing or using fake diplomas is illegal in many jurisdictions and can lead to severe legal consequences for both the forger and the recipient. Organisations found accepting or relying on fake credentials may also face legal liabilities.

Quality control

Education systems maintain standards and quality control to ensure that graduates have the necessary skills and knowledge. Fakes undermine this process and weaken the educational framework.

Social impact

In some fields, like medicine or engineering, a lack of proper qualifications due to fake diplomas can pose significant risks to public safety and well-being.

Resource misallocation

Fake diplomas divert opportunities from deserving candidates who have legitimately earned their qualifications, leading to unfair competition and misallocation of resources.

The use of digital credentials

Digital credentials can be a powerful solution to prevent the forgery of diplomas and certificates because they leverage modern technology to enhance security, authenticity, and verification processes.

By adopting digital credentials, educational institutions, employers, and other organisations can significantly reduce the risk of credential forgery and enhance the overall trust and reliability of the credentialing process.

Some of the reasons why digital credentials can be used to prevent fakes include:

Blockchain technology

Digital credentials can be anchored on the blockchain, a decentralised and immutable ledger. Blockchain ensures that once a credential is issued, it cannot be altered or tampered with, providing a high level of trust and security.

Cryptographic signatures

These documents can use cryptographic signatures to ensure the authenticity of the issuer and the document. These signatures are unique to each credential and are difficult to replicate.

Secure issuance and storage

Digital credentials can be issued securely through trusted platforms, and individuals can store them in digital wallets or secure repositories. This reduces the risk of physical document theft or loss.

Verification mechanisms

These documents often come with built-in verification mechanisms. By using a unique identifier or QR code, employers or educational institutions can quickly validate the authenticity of a credential online.

Real-time updates

Digital credentials can be updated in real-time if there are changes to the credential holder’s status or achievements. This ensures that the most up-to-date information is always available for verification.


The use of digital credentials allows for a clear audit trail, tracking the entire lifecycle of the document from issuance to verification. This traceability adds an extra layer of security and accountability.

Anti-tampering features

Digital credentials can have embedded anti-tampering features, making it difficult for individuals to alter or modify the document without detection.

Access control

With digital credentials, individuals can control who has access to view or verify their credentials. This protects their privacy and prevents unauthorised use.


Digital credentials can be designed to be interoperable, meaning they can be shared and verified across different platforms and systems, increasing their usefulness and reach.

Credential revocation

In cases where a credential needs to be revoked due to fraud or other reasons, digital credentials allow for quick and efficient revocation, ensuring that the fake document is no longer valid for verification.

Final thoughts

AI has revolutionised how we learn and teach. Although new technologies promise a future of personalised education, data-driven insights, and enhanced learning experiences, they also come with new challenges. AI carries the potential for misuse and can be applied to create fake diplomas and certificates.

It is important that organisations work to prevent credential fraud, as it undermines genuine efforts from students and can potentially cause problems to society as a whole.

As we discussed in this article, there are many ways in which Artificial Intelligence is currently being used to forge documents and deceive institutions. Knowing the possibilities that technology offers, the risks, and how to identify fakes is essential.

Prevention comes in the form of digital credentials. The more secure, tamper-proof, and easily accessible the information you provide, the more credibility your organisation will have. Contact us to learn more about how you can create digital credentials.