By now, identity theft is something we are all very familiar with. When cybercriminals and other thieves steal our personal information to reap various benefits such as forging passports, ID cards or simply to steal our money, we have learned how to safeguard our personal information. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in a different kind of identity theft, here in Singapore.
The identity theft in discussion goes hand in hand with the forging and faking of credentials. You may wonder why people would think it was even possible to pass themselves off as someone they are not or to suggest that they had achieved qualifications they did not, but that’s what people have done. And they’ve done it successfully.
Let’s take a look at some recent cases.
Trump Administration Member Mina Chang
Back in November 2019, Mina Chang resigned after allegations were leveled at her that she had embellished her resume and even, rather incredibly, faked a Time magazine cover to secure the job. The 35 year-old claims she studied in West Point and was an alumna from Harvard who also took part in a UN panel about drones.
The truth is, it appears she did attend a short Harvard Business School course, and students can refer to themselves as alumni. However, she did not pass a degree course at the renowned university. Had her fake credentials not come to light, Ms. Chang would possibly have worked within the US Agency for International Development overseeing the organization’s work in Asia with a budget of $1bn.
Man Alters Polytechnic Transcript and Submits False Documents to UniSIM
Closer to home, in Singapore, Kieffer Tay Kai Xian has been found to have submitted forged documents and doctored polytechnic transcripts to try land a coveted place on a course at Singapore Institute of Management University, which later became the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
For one transcript from Temasek Polytechnic, he changed his overall grade point average to 2.76 from 1.76 in the hopes of increasing his chances of being accepted onto a UniSIM finance course. Even after the university realized it was doctored and rejected it, he persisted and tried again. The result? He has been ordered to pay a fine of S$5,500. Both he and his father maintain that he was driven to do it by the pressure and stress his mother placed on him to get a place in a good university.
Greek Junior Cabinet Minister Resigns After Columbia Degree Lie
In another part of the world – Greece, where a junior member of the center-right government cabinet resigned in December after it was discovered that he had not received a degree from Columbia University studies he took part on, as noted on his resume. Although he did attend numerous lectures at Columbia University, he did not manage to complete the degree because of financial difficulties.
South Australian Government Staffer Faked Resume With a Supermodel Pic
Lastly, we come to the very peculiar and alarming case of Veronica Theriault, who recently pleaded guilty to dishonesty and deception charges, after it was discovered she used a fake resume and even enlisted the unwitting help of supermodel Kate Upton to get a high ranking job. The fake resume, which included a falsified reference written by her brother, helped her to land the position of Chief Information Officer within the Department of Premier and Cabinet from May to August of 2017. Suffering from Bipolar Disorder, she had also used a picture of Kate Upton on her LinkedIn profile.
As hilarious as it is that someone would think using a heavily circulated picture of Kate Upton or claim that they completed a degree they didn’t, would be successful, the worrying thing is that it worked.
The discrepancies in these cases were only discovered post hire and even in positions of power.. This problem outlines just how crucial it is to have a robust and comprehensive screening and vetting process in place whenever you are hiring new members of staff.
Sterling RISQ is an industry leader in employment background checks and performs screening programs with your candidates in mind. Contact us to learn more about how Sterling RISQ can help uncover falsified candidate profiles and minimise risks through our unique client case management model enabled by state-of-the-art technology.
This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.