Everyone knows cheating is wrong. Not everyone knows that it could lead to identity theft or ransom. Contract cheating is a relatively new phenomenon where illegitimate services prey on university students. Students who fall into the temptation to take the ‘easy route’ often find themselves targeted by scams, blackmail and extortion.
Contract cheating is a serious form of academic dishonesty. It’s when someone else contributes to or completes your assignments and other academic work on your behalf, without acknowledgement or the permission of your teachers. They might be:
It’s called ‘contract cheating’ because it involves some kind of exchange, or contract, between two or more people. Sometimes this involves payment, but it can be considered contract cheating even if money isn’t involved.
There are many different forms of the practice and many reasons for doing it. Below are some hypothetical situations as examples.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you could be guilty of contract cheating. For more examples, visit the University’s Academic Dishonesty page.
If you get caught participating in contract cheating you’ll face serious academic consequences – you may fail one or more units of study, or be suspended from your studies altogether for one or more semesters. If you are an international student, you could even lose your student visa.
This form of cheating also carries significant personal risks. Providing sensitive personal and financial information to dodgy contract cheating companies, including your UniKey details, puts your money and your identity at risk of being stolen. Some fake tutoring and ghostwriting companies are set up as fronts to blackmail unsuspecting students by threatening to tell their university or future employers about what they have done. They hold their ‘clients’ to ransom unless they pay regular sums of money to the blackmailers.
Aside from the personal risks, the contract cheating industry poses serious risks to public health and safety. We trust that professionals are properly qualified experts in their fields. Imagine if you were about to receive heart surgery from a surgeon who had someone else complete their assignments about human anatomy for them.
Finally, contract cheating risks undermining the value of your own university degree, by casting doubt on the skills and knowledge of you as a graduate. If you were an employer, would you hire a graduate from a university where cheating was common amongst its students? The risk to a company hiring someone who may have fraudulently acquired their qualifications is something employers are beginning to weigh up.
If you become aware that contract cheating has occurred, you can report it to your lecturer, tutor or to the University’s Office of Educational Integrity. We treat all reports of academic dishonesty made by students as confidential.