It is not a crime to buy a fake diploma online, but those who use one to apply for a job or promotion face possible prosecution, according to the Federal Trade Commission. A diploma mill is a company that offers fake degrees for a price.
Diploma mills offer fake degrees for varying prices and often grant them to students for "life experience" rather than school work. The Federal Trade Commission states that signs of a diploma mill include a flat rate for all diplomas, little or no course work, no waiting and pushy advertising. One way to ensure you are not dealing with a diploma mill is to make sure the school is accredited by a legitimate accrediting association.