A fraud investigation firm recently uncovered that an alarming number of workers in Malaysia have fake degrees from shady institutions.
In a report by The Star, around one in 20 job applicants enter companies using fake qualifications while one in 10 applicants had questionable credentials from uncredited academic institutions. Syndicates were found running the operations, selling degrees at RM12,000 (S$4,000) while fake degrees from international universities costs more than RM20,000 (S$6,500).
In the cases studied, a majority of the people used fake degrees to apply for senior management jobs across various industries.
Al Jazeera aired a documentary investigating cross-country fraud cases. According to the documentary, thousands of professionals worldwide allegedly purchased fake degrees through Axact, a degree mill based in Pakistan.
Axact peddled bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in which the “student” no longer had to attend class or take any examination.
These doctors, nurses, teachers, and engineers with fake degrees from uncredited universities were unknowingly hired by companies in Southeast Asia, including Singapore.
The founder of the degree mill, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, has since been arrested and charged with fraud.
Looking deeper, fraud investigation firm Akhbar & Associates discovered that more than 80 people residing in Malaysia got jobs using fake degrees. The firm said that fake degrees are rampant in Malaysia because companies have poor background check practices for new hires.
When they are exposed by the company, the fake degree holders could still find jobs elsewhere because the company did not file a police report for fraud.
In February, several Malaysian officials were exposed for faking their academic qualifications and admitting to using the services of degree mills.
To improve productivity and also more importantly prevent fraud cases such as these, Singapore’s graduating batch for 2019 will receive tamper-proof and blockchain-based certifications called OpenCerts. The certification contains “a unique cryptographic proof embedded for secure verification” which shall be included in the Skills Passports of the graduates’ individual MySkillsFuture accounts./TISG