What is a ghost share?
A credential shared as a reproduction rather than the original is a ghost share. A reproduction of a credential is any representation of the credential such as a photograph, a scan, or a line on a CV. As the name suggests, a ghost share can be seen but is difficult, sometimes impossible, to verify. Ghost shares have a number of downsides for both the sharer and the viewer:
- They are time-consuming to verify
- They are sometimes unverifiable
- They are easy to lose
- There is little to no supporting evidence
- They can reduce employability
- They are a low-barrier to fraud
Why should ghost shares be avoided?
The verification process for a ghost share involves numerous phone calls, email chains, and communication attempts to reach a source of verification. A number of credential verification attempts lead to a dead-end. Not because the credential is invalid (or fraudulent), but a growing number of educational institutions and training providers have closed or are facing closure with no replacement method of verification. A recent example is MacMurray College which closed in 2020 and has provided no direction for verifying past credentials. A credential that cannot be verified doesn’t hold a lot of value for the recipient and can cost them job and education opportunities.
Another concern is the growing number of fraudulent credentials. Fraudulent credentials can be created or ‘spoofed’ (real credentials that have been falsely edited) by anyone with knowledge of photo editing software. When the false credential is shared as a photograph, a scan, or written as a line on a job application, this adds another level of difficulty for verification. ADP found credential fraud in 23% of 2.6 million background checks they investigated - background checks that had been willingly submitted by the recipients. This shows that not only are a large number of applicants submitting fraudulent credentials but they believe their false credentials will go unnoticed.
What is the best solution to ghost shares?
Digital credentials simplify the process of credential verification leading to a reduction in fraud for education, during the employment process, and when providing proof of membership. Digital credentials ensure evidence of skills, knowledge, and experience is always available, even if the issuer faces closure.
Revoking or expiring credentials is made easier with digital credentials and can be done in minutes - without having to request the return of physical membership cards or certificates.
An extra layer of security for digital credentials is available using blockchain technology. Once written to the blockchain, digital credentials become impossible to fake or modify while maintaining full privacy of the credential details.
Organizations can still provide support for physical certificates with a printable PDF copy, including a QR code that links directly to the online hosted credential. This provides another barrier against fraud or spoofed credentials while enabling recipients to display their credential in a traditional manner.
Positive Recipient Experience
Digital credentials are portable and can be added to digital wallet cards on Android and Apple devices for providing proof of experience on-the-go. With one-click sharing, recipients can share their latest achievement to social media, add their credential to their LinkedIn profile, or embed online in an email or on a webpage.
Ghost shares are unverifiable credentials that cost recipients job opportunities and access to further education. Avoid ghost shares for both low and high-stakes certifications by switching to digital credentials and ensure a seamless recipient experience for learners, associates, and trainees.
Simple verification and portability are just two key features of digital credentials but there are many more benefits for organizations and recipients.
Download a copy of the Accredible Digital Credential Buyer’s Guide to learn more about the fundamentals of digital credentials and how they are used to support high-level strategies.