Matric certificates faked

2009-01-15 00:00

BOGUS matric certificates for 2008 have started turning up in employment agencies around the country, even before official certificates have been issued.

The endorsement of matric certificates is done between March and April by the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education Training and Umalusi. But it appears that school leavers who might not have been successful in their exams are already trying to secure a future in the working world by producing fake 2008 matric certificates.

Ina van der Merwe, CEO of Kroll Background Screening, a credentials verification company, said the use of fake certificates is a growing trend in the country.

Although she could not specify the scope of the problem in KwaZulu-Natal, she said it is a big national concern.

More than 12% of matric qualifications inspected by her company last year were fraudulent, 65% up from 2007, she said.

“It has become an absolute necessity for employment agencies and prospective employers to verify the validity of all certificates, degrees and diplomas because of widespread fraud and forgery,” she said.

According to Van der Merwe, levels of misrepresentation vary from an “out-and-out forgery” where all the information on the certificate except the applicant’s name is false, to the alteration of information, usually marks being revised upward.

The branch manager at in Pietermaritzburg, Sarah Alcock, said she has now “pricked up her ears”.

Like many other agencies contacted by The Witness yesterday, Alcock said Kelly Personnel has not had any school leavers knocking at its doors with last year’s matric certificates.

Van der Merwe believes this is largely due to the fact that larger agencies use verification agencies as part of their service to clients.

But she said smaller companies might not be as vigilant.

“I think it is important to be clear that you can’t take qualifications at paper value…” she said.

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