Diploma mill schools have overrun the online education industry and have caused many students to think twice about enrolling in an online degree program. However, diploma mills have existed for many decades, albeit in a different form. The internet has only allowed corporations greater freedom with which to trick students into purchasing supposed "accredited" degrees from various "online schools". While there are a great many online universities whose accreditations are valid and who provide students with a strong educational background, many diploma mill institutions still exist and have become more adept in their ways to fool students into thinking they have a valid accreditation.
Diploma mill schools have worked their way to becoming a billion-dollar a year business, essentially existing solely on the money they receive from students who think they are paying for a valid degree. While many of us can tell from the first page of the website that there is no way these schools can be valid (how can you "order" a degree), there are still many students who think they are taking a test for an Associate's Degree and have enough knowledge to earn the credit. This is an interesting predicament because once the student realizes that they have been duped, there is little to no chance that they will get their money back. However, the FBI has begun to investigate more of these cases and has been successful in shutting down many major diploma mill institutions over the years.
De Salle University based in Louisiana and Rochville University in Texas have both changed their programs since the FBI got involved and discovered they were making millions off of students who were paying for "fake" degrees. Additionally, the states themselves have imposed many restrictions on online schools who lack accreditation and operate out of the state. These schools now offer degree programs, instead of a simple test and order button for various degrees. Additionally, they are now accredited by different organizations, instead of the fake accreditation sites which essentially were created by the same fake institution.
There have been many undercover stories about the recent plague of online diploma mills who have made millions of dollars in recent years. Many schools have minimal operations in the United States and instead have their websites listed in foreign nations in an effort to elude the FBI. Spotting diploma mills has become relatively easy, but spotting false accreditations can be a bit trickier. Researching heavily into an online university's background can help your chances of securing a degree that will boast accreditation and will not end in a useless diploma.