What does a cheat detection alert mean?

Character Replacement & Hidden Characters Alerts

A Cheat Detection Alert will appear in the similarity report when a scan has detected an abnormality in a submitted document. These abnormalities are usually present due to a student's efforts to cheat or "fool" a plagiarism scan. The two forms of cheating that our scans can detect are called Character Replacement & Hidden Characters.



Character Replacement


Character Replacement is when specific characters are altered to deceive a plagiarism scan. 

For example, a basic letter in the Latin Alphabet, such as an "o," is replaced by a virtually identical character from another alphabet, such as an omicron "ο" from Greek. All of what appear to be "o's" throughout the file will, in fact, be omicrons. To the human eye, these characters are undetectable, but when in a .txt format, our system can find the characters that do not belong.

Typically, other plagiarism detectors ignore these words and exclude them from being detected as plagiarized content.


Hidden Characters


There are two scenarios in which a Hidden Characters Alert can appear.

First, the alert can signify that characters have been added to the text and hidden from the naked eye in white "ink." Commonly, a thin letter such as an "I" will be inserted into the spaces of a text and then hidden in a white text color to deceive a plagiarism scan. Typically, other plagiarism detectors do not pick up on these text segments as long chunks of original content exist and exclude them from being detected as plagiarized content.

Second, the alert can appear because text images are strategically inserted into the document. In this case, a student would format an image with text to appear as though it were not an image but rather a part of the written text of the document. Typically, other plagiarism detectors do not detect the image as text and simply ignore it, excluding it from being detected as plagiarized content.


Please note that these alerts are intended as a flag for possible intentional cheating. Documents should always be reviewed before confirmation of cheating and discussion with your student(s).