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CV fraud in South Africa at record high

| Crime and security

A background screening company says that 2015 is proving to be a record year for credentials cheats, with criminal record checks for prospective employees now topping 12%.

This is marginal rise from 12% over the prior year, according to checking firm, EMPS.

Kirsten Halcrow, the managing director of EMPS, said what was even more disturbing was the fact that 38% of the candidates who tested positive for a criminal record were repeat offenders, with some job applicants having up to 20 convictions.

“We have reached the point where there is no place to hide for criminals and qualifications fraudsters to enter the job market because screening procedure have become so sophisticated over the past years that is has become almost impossible to beat the system.”

Recent statistics show that 65% of the job applicants who tested positive for criminal records committed offences in the past ten years, EMPS said.

Halcrow said 7.6% of tertiary qualifications submitted to her company for verification in the first half of 2015 were unverifiable. In some instances the qualifications could not be verified as the institutions had long since ceased to exist.

In other instances, the institutions had not kept accurate records which created issues and a majority were outright fakes – many bought from so-called degree mills in various parts of the world.

Forged matric certificates remained constant at around 10% with many actually being from the Department of Educations but with symbols and subjects altered.

“The most common problem we find is that job applicants replace less desirable subjects to ones that are highly valued in the workplace such as maths and science,” Halcrow said.

They are generally easy to spot because most of the alterations are amateurish, she said.

Halcrow said that companies who did not check the veracity of documents tendered by job applicants were setting themselves up for a fall.

“It is common knowledge that unemployment is on the rise and that only applicants with the best grades in the most desirable subjects stand a chance of getting employed.

“Another issue we have to deal with is the growing number of fake South African IDs that are being used to secure jobs – mostly by illegal immigrants.”

EMPS said that, despite efforts by the Department of Home Affairs to curb the sale of South African ID documents by dishonest home affairs staff, the practice had not been “stopped in its tracks” as promised by the ministry.

“These documents are almost impossible to verify because they were issued by home affairs and despite the fact that they are fraudulent they nonetheless appear on the home affairs database.

“We now also have a division that checks the veracity of every item on an applicant’s CV because these are easy to fake.

“We call previous employers to check the applicant’s employment record and in the case of a dismissal we check what the reasons were for the dismissal,” Halcrow said

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