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The enemy within
In the media UK NARIC is the government agency responsible for providing information and opinion on vocational, academic and professional qualifications across the world. They recently identified a growing problem with fraudulent academic certificates which is something that we at Risk Advisory have also seen increase this year. UK NARIC said there are a number of red flags that can be used to spot fake certificates including:
  • Lack of official stamps/seals
  • Paper quality
  • The use of a variety of fonts
  • Information or inaccurate language
  • Scanned signatures
Reviewing original certificates is always difficult as fraudsters become more sophisticated. The only way to really ensure your candidates have the qualifications they claim is to check with the awarding institution directly. Recent cases A recent candidate for a global client in the corporate sector had just returned from a period of 18 months during which they went travelling round the world and went to see family in Australia. What they didn’t declare was that they had also left the UK with significant amounts of debt and had been declared bankrupt while they had been away. A new recruit for one of our law firm clients had specifically answered ‘no’ to a question asking them to declare details of unspent criminal convictions as part of an online application form. We conducted a basic disclosure criminal check and discovered that the candidate had a conviction for battery which resulted in an unpaid work requirement and a curfew imposed for three months. An investment banking client was hiring a candidate and asked us to verify the GCSE grades as the highest academic qualification obtained. The GCSE grades declared by the candidate on the application form were higher than those provided in the reference from the school. Our client also provided us with the CV that the candidate had used as part of the interview process. The grades here varied significantly and had been inflated to secure a job offer. When challenged, the candidate stated that his CV hadn’t been updated and that his former employers hadn’t noticed the falsified grades. By Sal Remtulla Head of Employee Screening, London
Published: 17th October 2012