'Glastonbury University' scam uncovered
Saturday 24 September 2011
A scam based on a fictitious university which aimed to rip off foreign students has been uncovered by trading standards officers.
Somerset County Council was alerted after a London university reported it had received an application from a student claiming to have a degree from Glastonbury University.
A wide-ranging probe which enlisted the help of, among others, the Florida FBI, discovered a website purporting to be for Glastonbury University and offering a variety of courses in "one of the world's most exciting cities". Authorities linked the scam to a operation based in Malaysia and say its main targets were visitors from the Far East.
The website said all the courses were located in the centre of Glastonbury and used impressive images of the £32m David Wilson Library at Leicester University to advertise it. The investigation revealed the address given on the site for the university is actually an empty office building in the centre of Glastonbury.
The website boasted that the university was a "a leading private and independent university of world standing". Officers from the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit have now removed the domain name and site – www.glastonbury-edu.org.uk.
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