This morning, I got an email from someone in our HR department stating that our company is undergoing a government audit of our HR records. As part of this audit, HR (and supposedly the government) will need a picture copy of our collegiate diplomas. (My diploma is actually at my parents' place, over 1000 miles away).

For context, I've been with the company for about 2 years now, and I've never been asked to provide a copy of my diploma, though I'm assuming they did degree verification before I was officially hired here.

I at first recommended for this audit that they contact my university's registrar office to get degree verification, but they said that that would not do.

Has anyone been asked this before? Does this seem phishy or suspicious for the company to ask this? (It doesn't seem to me to be that hard to, say, forge a diploma, as opposed to contacting the university directly for verification...)

  • 2
    I've never heard of this. Did they explain why a degree verification or transcript was not good enough? The certificate is really just decorative.
    – David K
    Jul 25, 2016 at 19:15
  • 5
    Did you call your HR department and talked to a actual person to verify the authenticity of the email request?
    – Dan
    Jul 25, 2016 at 19:21
  • 8
    Possible duplicate of Verifying education/degrees AFTER employment
    – HPierce
    Jul 25, 2016 at 19:27
  • 4
    Either phishy or typical government incompetence. How is a potentially-doctored photo better confirmation than the university registrar?
    – cdkMoose
    Jul 25, 2016 at 19:42
  • 6
    How are they handling people who have been out of college for over 30+ years and might no longer have their diploma?
    – Anketam
    Jul 25, 2016 at 19:43

3 Answers 3


It seems less effective but stupid policy out of government is not that unusual. It strikes me that this should be less of a big deal to get your parents or a friend from your hometown to take a picture of this and text or email it to you. It's definitely much less paperwork than getting the registrar of many universities to send confirmation of your degree.


I agree that this request sounds "phishy," and that you should verify the authenticity of the communication.

As far as I know, personnel departments can and do verify educational credentials electronically. (Although I went to college so long ago, now, that those records are in paper boxes, and I have no idea where my diploma is.)

A request for you to produce a photocopy of the document sounds suspicious to me ... that it might, in fact, not be an authentic request from your company's HR department.


If you are working for the state of California or some other states going through the same process, even though it sounds idiotic, there is a reason behind these. In the past, in their infinite wisdom, some supervisor, who were obviously supporters of nepotism, placed people they know or somehow referred to them by some people they know, to the positions the did not deserve, supported by the false pretenses. Let's say a certain naturalized citizen immigrant from a third world country, became a supervisor and hired all his or her cohorts from the same ethnic background from the same country, who applied for that government branch, saying they graduated from college in their home country, while they sometimes were not even high school graduates.

Knowing well, how the education and other government systems work in the third world countries, the audit teams are trying their best to verify people against who they said they are, including the degrees they purported.

My significant other is on the same boat. The college she got her associate of arts degree has been shuttered at 1999 following financial problems they were in. And no records has been filed anywhere. He diploma is nowhere to be found, thanks to countless number of moves she had been through in the past 20 years.

So, this is not really an off the wall even, but more of a witch hunt if you ask me. Some people like OP and my SO are going to be victimized even though they did nothing wrong, may be other than lack of pristine records keeping.

My 2 cents.

  • 1
    Auditors typically don't verify people. They verify processes and controls. So in the situation you describe they will want to confirm the employee verification process that is followed. If your SO can't find her degree certificate, I don't see it being a huge issue or likely to lead to victimization. Any auditor I know whould just increase their sample size and ask for more evidence. Jul 26, 2016 at 2:00
  • A friend had this exact same problem: they were applying for University, yet their High School was shuttered years ago and any records of their diploma no longer exist. They eventually were accepted after signing an affidavit, but their situation--and your SO's--belie the fundamental problem of degrees in general: they exist only on paper and have no intrinsic value.
    – BryanH
    Aug 22, 2016 at 18:09

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