We know there are degree mills out there; we know that fake qualifications exist; but when it comes to the crunch, a lot of us assume these things only happen overseas. Surely credentials issued and verified as genuine by legitimate Australian businesses or a registered JP can be taken on face value?
Christmas never came for a Melbourne-based couple Cameron and Fay Russell when they were charged by NSW authorities as being ringleaders of a scheme that had issued hundreds of fake trade certificates. Daily Update Pty Ltd (operating as Green Skills Australia) has been in operation for almost 15 years; however, a long investigation showed that since at least 2015, the business operations involved issuing fraudulent construction industry trade certifications to people who were completely unqualified.
Fabricated qualifications issued included those for building, gas fittings, refrigeration, air-conditioning and electrotechnology. Such crucial construction trades require qualified personnel to ensure safety and insurance coverage, not to mention the reputational and financial risks to organisations that employ individuals based on non-existent qualifications!
A spokeswoman for the Australian Skills Quality Authority confirmed that, due to “critical non-compliances with assessment practices”, Daily Update’s training registration had been cancelled in June 2015, but that didn’t stop the qualifications being issued, or Mr Russell from signing off on certificates as genuine in order to influence the NSW Department of Fair Trading.
This case study highlights just how easily fake qualifications can come across the desk of compliance teams or recruitment and HR professionals in any state in Australia without being questioned – keep your eyes peeled if you are in the construction industry!
Verifying qualifications is not a costly or complex task when outsourced to background checking specialists, yet it is not uncommon for organisations to simply accept copies as fact or put additional faith in the certification of a document as a true copy by a JP or similar, when the only action that effectively minimises the risks is to verify the qualification with the awarding institute.
And here is the take-home – the extra mile really does count! If an issuing organisation has closed, no longer has its training registration, or is known in the market (such as this organisation now) for issuing falsified credentials, your background checking provider’s research should identify this and allow you to make hiring decisions on the facts, not fiction.
You can read the full article here.
The information contained in this publication is the opinion of PeopleCheck Pty Ltd and does not form the basis of legal advice