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    About this Episode

    Axact sells fake diplomas and degrees. What could go wrong with this business plan? Sponsors Support for this episode comes from NetSuite. NetSuite gives you visibility and control of your financials, planning, budgeting, and of course - inventory - so you can manage risk, get reliable forecasts, and improve margins. NetSuite helps you identify rising costs, automate your manual business processes, and see where to save money. KNOW your numbers. KNOW your business. And get to KNOW how NetSuite can be the source of truth for your entire company. Visit www.netsuite.com/darknet to learn more. Support for this show comes from ThreatLocker®. ThreatLocker® is a Zero Trust Endpoint Protection Platform that strengthens your infrastructure from the ground up. With ThreatLocker® Allowlisting and Ringfencing™, you gain a more secure approach to blocking exploits of known and unknown vulnerabilities. ThreatLocker® provides Zero Trust control at the kernel level that enables you to allow everything you need and block everything else, including ransomware! Learn more at www.threatlocker.com. This show is sponsored by Shopify. Shopify is the best place to go to start or grow your online retail business. And running a growing business means getting the insights you need wherever you are. With Shopify’s single dashboard, you can manage orders, shipping, and payments from anywhere. Sign up for a one-dollar-per-month trial period at https://shopify.com/darknet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Questioning and verifying information is crucial in avoiding deceptive situations, reminding us to stay vigilant in our personal and professional lives.
    • The promise of better opportunities and higher pay at Axact Call Center turned out to be deceptive as Fazal discovered the lack of credibility and unethical practices within the company.
    • Be cautious when sharing personal information and passwords online, as this cautionary tale highlights the dangers of trusting fraudulent websites.
    • Axact offered an exceptional work environment with lavish perks, but at the cost of work-life balance, requiring employees to work every day with minimal time off.
    • Vigilant scrutiny and verification processes are crucial in the online education industry to prevent fraudulent practices like Axact's.
    • Stay vigilant and conduct thorough research before enrolling in educational programs to avoid falling victim to scams like the Axact operation.
    • Better safeguards must be put in place to prevent scams like Axact, which exploited individuals while presenting a facade of legitimacy and impacting the flow of stolen funds.
    • Money can buy influence and exploit legal loopholes, enabling deceitful companies like Axact to escape accountability, emphasizing the need for uncovering and recording scams to protect people from deception.
    • A Pakistani company's fraudulent scheme involving fake degrees from hundreds of schools created public outrage, but the subsequent investigation resulted in dropped charges and no clear explanation.
    • The case reveals the influence of wealth and power in the country, highlighting the need for transparency and accountability to protect the rights of ordinary citizens.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Uncovering Deceptions: The Reality Behind Illusions

    Not everything is as it seems. This is evident in both Jack's conversation with his dad and Fazal's experience working at a call center. Jack's dad thought he had bought a cheap TV in Mexico, only to realize it was actually just the menu from a KFC. Similarly, Fazal thought he was applying for a job at a reputable company, but later discovered that Axact, the company he worked for, was involved in fraudulent activities. These stories highlight the importance of questioning and verifying information, as things may not always be what they appear to be. It serves as a reminder to remain vigilant and cautious, both in our personal lives and professional endeavors.

    Deceptive Practices and Lack of Credibility at Axact Call Center

    Fazal and his group were enticed by the promise of better opportunities and higher pay at the Axact call center. However, the reality of their experience was quite different. Fazal initially worked for a university in Manchester, England, earning a small commission for enrolling students. But when he saw the leaderboard and noticed how much money others were making, he became curious about finding a better client. His boss assigned him to Bay Town University, a newly established institution that seemed impressive on their website. However, upon closer inspection, Fazal discovered that the university did not exist prior to this. This highlights the deceptive practices and lack of credibility within the Axact call center, where appearances can be deceiving and financial gain comes at the expense of ethics and legitimacy.

    The Unsettling Truth Behind Axact's Fake University

    Axact created a fake university, taking people's money and giving them fake degrees. They set up classes in a way that allowed students to skip through the material and finish the course in minutes, making them feel like they were cheating the school. The website listed fake accrediting bodies and even claimed endorsement from Senator John Kerry. On top of that, potential students were asked to create accounts on the website, providing their social media profiles. Passwords entered on the website were stored in clear text and given to Axact employees. They then used these passwords to log into users' Facebook and other accounts. It serves as a reminder to be cautious about trusting websites with personal information and passwords.

    Luxury and Perks at Axact: The Catch

    Axact, despite their unethical practices, created an extremely luxurious and enticing work environment for their employees. They offered perks and services that far surpassed even those provided by Google. From having a personal chef and access to the best restaurants in town, to delivering groceries and providing medical transportation for employees' families, Axact took care of every aspect of their employees' lives. They even provided company cars, arranged for tickets to events, and had a yacht available for use. However, this seemingly ideal work environment came with a catch - employees were required to work every day with only one day off a month. Axact's focus was solely on maximizing their employees' productivity, disregarding work-life balance.

    Axact's fraudulent operation: deceiving students with fake degrees and certifications.

    The operation conducted by Axact, a fraudulent online education company, deceived thousands of students by selling fake degrees and certifications. The company's representatives, such as Fazal, lured students by promising expedited completion of their courses and degrees for an additional fee. Despite some students suspecting the legitimacy of the school, many were convinced by the professional-looking website and fake accreditations. Axact even went as far as sending graduation gowns and hats to add to the illusion of authenticity. While the company claimed to have limits, such as not selling fake medical degrees, evidence suggests that individuals in medical professions did purchase degrees from Axact. This exposé sheds light on the need for vigilant scrutiny and verification processes in the online education industry to prevent such fraudulent practices.

    The Axact Scam: Selling fake degrees and manipulating vulnerable individuals

    The scam operated by Axact was not only about selling fake degrees but also about manipulating and extorting vulnerable individuals. The company went to great lengths to impersonate schools and deceive customers, posing as teachers and experts in various fields. They used targeted marketing strategies and spent large amounts of money to attract victims. Once individuals had paid for their fake degrees, Axact would continue to exploit them by inventing false problems and offering expensive solutions. This strategy played into the psychological flaw of the sunk cost fallacy, as victims were reluctant to abandon their investment after already spending thousands of dollars. This case highlights the importance of staying vigilant and conducting thorough research when enrolling in any educational program or institution.

    The rise of Axact: a web of fake degrees, money mules, and offshore accounts.

    Axact, a company involved in selling fake degrees, not only scammed individuals but also converted some victims into money mules. These money mules unknowingly accepted stolen money and sent it to scammers, making it difficult for banks to track the flow of stolen funds. Axact had an intricate system of shifting money through different accounts, often ending up in offshore accounts in Cyprus or Latvia for added protection. Despite the illegal activities of the company, Axact managed to grow rapidly, setting up numerous fake universities to maximize profits. The founder, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, presented himself as genuine and inspiring, focusing on the positive impact of providing education while concealing the fraudulent activities. This highlights the need for increased vigilance and scrutiny to prevent scams and protect individuals from falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

    Axact's Fake Degree Scam and Legal Maneuverings

    Axact, a company based in Pakistan, was involved in a massive fake degree scam. Despite claiming to have charitable initiatives and being popular among many people, it was revealed that Axact was operating a fraudulent online high school and deceiving thousands of students. When faced with a class-action lawsuit, Axact managed to avoid appearing in court by scapegoating an unaffiliated individual named Saleem Qureshi. This clever legal move allowed Axact to evade accountability and disappear without paying the court-ordered compensation. The story highlights the power and influence that money can bring, as well as the potential flaws in the legal system. Additionally, journalist Declan Walsh's investigation sheds light on the importance of uncovering and documenting such scams to protect individuals from deception.

    The Axact Scam: Fake Degrees, Fraud, and a Controversial Outcome

    Axact, a Pakistani company, engaged in a massive scam involving the creation and sale of fake degrees from over 300 fake schools. The New York Times exposed their fraudulent activities, leading to public outrage in Pakistan. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) launched an investigation, finding evidence of fraud and unethical practices, such as threatening and deceiving customers. The FIA raided Axact's offices, seized evidence, and issued arrest warrants for 23 individuals, including the CEO. However, the timeline of events becomes unclear, and it is uncertain if anyone served jail time. Eventually, all charges were unexpectedly dropped by Judge Memon, leaving the accused individuals free to go, without any explanation.

    The Axact degree mill scam exposes corruption and manipulation in the Pakistani justice system.

    The Axact degree mill scam exposed a web of corruption and questionable practices within the Pakistani justice system. Despite the initial conviction and sentencing of twenty-three employees and executives, including the CEO Shoaib, the arrest and imprisonment process was riddled with loopholes and delays. The CEO managed to avoid serving his prison sentence and was released after only two days in jail. This raises concerns about the influence of wealth and power in the country and the potential manipulation of the justice system by individuals with political connections. Additionally, the continued operation of Axact suggests that the company has not faced significant consequences for its fraudulent activities. These events highlight the need for greater transparency, accountability, and integrity within Pakistan's institutions to safeguard against corruption and protect the rights of ordinary citizens.

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