The Price of Cheap Beer

Mohammed Dar claims he was offering fake university IDs for students to help them get into student union bars to buy cheap beer.

Searching his home in Stretford Manchester, police recovered:

  • 152 completed forgeries of Manchester Metropolitan University ID cards
  • 42 fake Brunel University cards
  • 7 fake University of Manchester cards
  • 6 fake University of Liverpool cards
  • 4 fake University of Leeds cards.

It reads like a present list on the 12 Days of Fraudmass, but in sentencing Dar to prison the judge nailed it with his comments:

‘You can open a false bank account with a photo ID and an electricity bill….This country and its institutions operate on the basis of trust – trust in documents. Organisations don’t have the time or the resources to go and check whether every document is genuine.’

Fun fact: Prospects verification service Hedd allows enquirers to verify current university students as well as certificates and transcripts from graduates. As an employer if an applicant uses student ID to prove their identity you can quickly establish the truth online at www.hedd.ac.uk. Already covering 2/3 of graduates from UK institutions and expanding all the time Hedd is the UK’s official HE verification service with over 75 universities available on the system.

A few months ago we received an enquiry from colleagues in Denmark who had concerns about a UK student applying to work for them. Here’s the ID she provided to them:

my i d card (1)

Her fake passport wasn’t much better quality, but the employer still needed to be sure.

As well as the student ID cards, Dar was using a specialist printer and editor to sell hundreds of items for as little as £20. His phone was full of evidence of customers buying a variety of documents.

Check job or course applicants every time or it could cost your business a lot more than the price of a cheap pint.

Jon the Builder

‘Dr’ Jon Andrewes – the ‘Walter Mitty’ character we flagged a couple of weeks ago has now been sentenced and will spend the next two years in prison.

The full extent of the lies about his qualifications has come to light and is staggering in its impudence. As Mad Dog says in The Cannonball Run – ‘If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly!’

  • First Class degree from Bristol
  • Masters degree from Bristol
  • MBA from Edinburgh
  • PhD from Heriot-Watt
  • PhD from Plymouth

All completely untrue.

He lied about working for the Home Office and HMRC and being a partner in a technology firm, when in fact he started out as a builder.

Using his embellished CV he obtained a senior position in the NHS in 2004 and went on to earn over £1million in a 10 year period in other senior NHS roles before his bosses finally questioned him in 2016.

In court he also admitted to tinkering with his daughter’s degree certificate from the University of London.

It’s never too late to check the people working for you. HEDD’s Toolkit for Employers can be downloaded here.

 

 

Facepalm

Comments on this blog are most welcome and means someone is reading and engaging with our messages. Thank you commenters all.

Today’s commenter deserves a special prize.

moderation

moderation-blown-up

Let’s see who our new number one fan is…..

custom-diploma

Are they filled with remorse? Turning themselves in?

No.

The folks over at Custom Diploma think this is a site endorsing fake diplomas and want us to advertise their wares!*

Thanks to WordPress we have their IP address and email clearly displayed, so our fraud team will be reporting them immediately.

We just couldn’t resist sharing. Happy Tuesday everyone.

*Other fake certificate websites are available**

**But not for long.

A Question of Trust

It’s good to see the NHS taking a strong position on application fraud right up to senior levels and prosecuting offenders.

This month sees two men who lied about their qualifications – including possessing fake degree certificates to obtain senior positions in the NHS, back in court.

Conrad de Souza had already been imprisoned for 27 months in 2011 for faking medical qualifications in order to hold clinical guidance roles and was also ordered to repay the NHS £270,000. After his release he repeatedly lied about his qualifications on applications for a number of senior positions in the NHS and was convicted of 6 counts of fraud in December. This week he has been sent back to prison for 17 months.

Dr. Jon Andrewes is a former NHS trust chairman who lied spectacularly about his qualifications to get two top NHS jobs as chairman of the Torbay NHS Care Trust and later the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust. According to his online biography he is Dr. Jon Andrewes with a PhD from Heriot-Watt University where he specialised in researching leadership, management and success attributes in the commercial sector. His first degree is in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and he also has an MBA with a finance specialism from the University of Bristol. All these claims are false. He pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court recently and will be sentenced on the 1st March. At the time of recruiting him into these senior roles the NHS checked his references, but not his degrees.

The advice here is simple. Check qualifications for everyone you hire – regardless of seniority, fine CVs and track records. Fraudsters come in all guises.

Think Before You Tweet

It’s that time of year when mothers wear big hats and graduates don caps and gowns to shake hands with their university Chancellors.

The temptation to pose for photos with that certificate in hand, then share share share on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is overwhelming and understandable.

Last year we warned against posting certificate selfies as they give fraudsters perfect templates to produce fake degree certificates. Google Images scoops them up and parades them online for eternity. We have issued a press release today to remind people, which media platforms are thankfully picking up.

We’re contacting all university social media teams to ask them to get the message out to their students and also not to re-tweet pictures of their graduates holding certificates.

It’s not just about fake certificates.There’s a serious, personal risk here too. As CIFAS reported today social media platforms are hunting grounds for identity thieves and there has been a 52% increase in identity fraud against under 30’s in the last 12 months alone.

Degree certificates contain personal information – full names, dates of birth (in some cases), places of study, titles, year of graduation. Information like this can be used to piece together someone’s identity for fraud and is as precious and private as a passport, a driving licence or bank details. None of us would put our passports online and we should treat certificates in the same way.

Post smiles, not certificates and stay safe.

Congratulations and appropriate emoticons, by the way.

7 Up

Employment screening professionals, the Risk Advisory Group published their annual report into CV fraud last week. It’s a sobering read and demonstrates that there is a long way to go to eliminate this, despite the work we have been doing at HEDD for the past 4 years. The report is available to download from their website.

After analysing 5,500 CVs submitted by jobseekers, 70% were found to contain some form of inaccuracy – a rise of 7% on last year.

2/3 of the discrepancies were about academic background – by far the most common lies. 10% of candidates falsify their grades.

The report includes case studies showing candidates who had been expelled from their university, but claimed the degree anyway and MBAs from bogus universities. All too familiar.

To put it in real terms – if you receive 200 CV applications for a job 88 of them will have lies about education qualifications. 20 of them will have false grades.

The need to make checks has never been greater. 3 simple steps in your recruitment practices can make all the difference:

  1. Tell candidates you will check all qualifications.
  2. Ask to see certificates – don’t rely on CVs or application forms.
  3. Check the certificates with the awarding institutions – beware fakes.

Risk Advisory report that the message is getting through with more employers introducing verification measures when hiring. The more we can highlight the levels of fraud, the higher that number will be.

Take Adecco At This

The jury has been out for some time on the prudence of using the social networks like Facebook as hunting grounds for staff recruitment – whereas LinkedIn has built its reputation as a professional network. 

Adecco, the global recruitment organisation has recently released the results of some research into CV fraud which discovered that one in ten users has lied on CVs listed publicly on LinkedIn. So even in a reputable, professional and public environment, people are still prepared to commit fraud. LinkedIn, of course, cannot control nor police what its users post on their profiles.

In line with other research in this area, the biggest lie, just like our big city lawyer Dennis O’Riordan, is around qualifications.

The research also found other interesting discrepancies:

  • 9% lied about job titles;
  • 9% lied about their age;
  • 7% lied about their university;
  • 7% lied about their school;
  • and 5% about the length of time at a particular job or their experience.

 Alex Fleming, Operations Director at Adecco has the following advice.

 “Your CV is your opportunity to communicate to prospective employers your career history and strengths. It should be as accurate as possible. Although the temptation may be there to smooth out areas of your experience and qualifications that aren’t quite perfect, we would always advise candidates not to outright lie. It’s often said that the truth will always come out in the end and so it’s much safer to concentrate on your real achievements than investing in fictitious ones.”

Wise words.