An investigation by BBC Radio 4’s File on Four show has found that thousands of people in the UK had bought fake degree certificates from a so-called ‘diploma mill’ operating out of Pakistan. The universities named on the certificates don’t exist, and worryingly, it’s thought that around 3,000 bonus qualifications could be being used – even within the NHS.
Former FBI agent Allen Ezell, who has investigated businesses that sell fake qualification certificates, commented, ‘Employers are not doing their due diligence in checking out the papers, so it makes it work. It’s the damnedest thing we’ve ever seen’.
Using a fake certificate to apply for a job could be classed as fraud by misrepresentation, and it’s a crime that could carry a ten-year prison sentence.
The potential issues here for employers are very clear and also very scary. You may well be receiving applications for your advertised roles from people who have exaggerated, or explicitly lied, about their credentials and suitability for the job. Recruiting the wrong person can be extremely costly and there are some potentially dire consequences further down the line.
Ultimately, the onus is on you as the business owner to make sure that you’re doing the right checks. Yes, it could be time consuming. It could briefly tie up resources that you’d rather be deploying in other areas, and it may well be the case that the vast majority of your applicants are being completely honest about their suitability for the job. Still though, it’s something that you absolutely can’t afford to overlook.
If you know that you’re not fulfilling your obligations, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority. Chief executive of Higher Education Degree Datacheck, Jayne Rowley, estimated that only a fifth of employers conducted proper checks on applicants’ qualifications.
The good news here is that it’s relatively simple and straightforward to make your processes more robust, and completely sidestep many of the associated risks that come with neglecting to carry out the right checks.
If your procedures need a health check, get in touch today to book your initial no-obligation consultation. We can assess what you’re doing right, where there’s room for improvement, and the points that need to be actioned right away to protect your business.