Chinese Gang Sells Fake Professional Certifications

They were able to hack into government websites:

The gang’s USP, and the reason it could charge up to 10,000 yuan (£1,000) per certificate, was that it could hack the relevant government site and tamper with the back-end database to ensure that the fake cert’s name and registration number appeared legitimate.

The gang made £30M before being arrested.

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 1:04 PM • 33 Comments

Comments

Geoffrey KiddAugust 8, 2012 1:16 PM

That's the problem with centralization and the creation of valuable registries etc. They ALL are born with Gary Larson's classic "bummer of a birthmark."

vasiliy pupkinAugust 8, 2012 1:31 PM

Cable 'USA' has 'Suits' where talented young guy pretended to be graduate of Harvard Law School. He is working better even not having legitimate credentials than others who do.
Let say you got fake cerdentials and got job in private sector.
How long could you survive without proper skills and knowledge expected from person with such credentials? If you do for long time, then your job was not required matching skills or and nepotism was there.
There are usually two sets of people going to college, university, training. One set are those who needs 'paper' -credentials only (see above), but others are looking for knowledge. The latter are often drop outs becoming very wealthy businessmen (IT in particular).

Smooth-Haired BossAugust 8, 2012 1:38 PM

The purchased professional qualifications are as useful as most of the ones awarded in the computer security sector.

(If I receive your resume and your name at the top has any post-nominal letters apart from PhD, it's going in the waste basket.)

adricAugust 8, 2012 1:46 PM

Life imitating Fiction ?

This sounds like some of the missions from Uplink, a video game from Introversion UK.

http://guide.modlink.net/section3.php :

Change Academic Details
Mission Descriptions:
Improve our associates' academic standing
Help us prove a fellow employee is over-rated
Generate a University Degree for a friend
Qualifications required for wealthy professional

Ranking: Novice
Difficulty Rating: 3
Required Software: Password Breaker

Bounce your way to the International Academic Database, and use your password breaker to gain access. Enter the search menu and enter the name you've been given. When it comes up, enter or change the relevant qualification. As a guide, if it says add a qualification, put it in the bottom box (Other Qualifications) and if it says University degree put it in the second box (Graduate Qualifications). When you've made the changes, click the commit button. Then simply send a reply email to receive your payment

fatblokeAugust 8, 2012 2:10 PM

@Smooth-Haired Boss

"(If I receive your resume and your name at the top has any post-nominal letters apart from PhD, it's going in the waste basket.)"

Then you're not the kind of boss I want. Looks like any form of attempt to upgrade my skills or reskill as the job required would be met with cynicism if you were my line manager.

What sort of boss doesn't want his employees to improve themselves?

vasiliy pupkinAugust 8, 2012 3:00 PM

@fatbloke
'What sort of boss doesn't want his employees to improve themselves?'
Boss with less skills and expertise who afraids that his boss decides to replace him with that employee imporving himself to the level of sound competition.
If boss is smart (s)he afraids less his employees improving themselves.

Smooth-Haired BossAugust 8, 2012 3:35 PM

@fatbloke
Clarification:

I want you to improve yourself and will be glad to pay for applicable training from reputable sources. I want you to know everything, and more, then you need for your job. Hopefully, you will gain a lot more knowledge than I have. I also want you to put those things on your resume.

I do NOT want you to put all those letters after your name.

WaelAugust 8, 2012 6:29 PM

The gang’s USP, and the reason it could charge up to 10,000 yuan (£1,000) per certificate... The gang made £30M before being arrested.

And what happened to the 30,000 fake-degreed people?

GodelAugust 8, 2012 7:05 PM

What gets me is the people who have posed as doctors, in some cases successfully and for years.

Animal Farm PigAugust 8, 2012 7:53 PM

I welcome more actions like this. When employers cannot tell the difference between a worker with a real degree and a fake one, it demonstrates the real value of the educational system.

GweihirAugust 8, 2012 9:53 PM

That is why buying one this way is always going to bite the customers. (Not that I mind, they are dishonest scum.) These people will continue until caught, greed and stupidity assures that.

Nick PAugust 8, 2012 10:39 PM

@ Wael

Probably still practicing (field here) without a legit credential or making a careful exit.

@ godel

"What gets me is the people who have posed as doctors, in some cases successfully and for years."

Yeah, it's interesting. The Wikipedia article on Frank indicated he was able to pass off most of the work to interns. So, maybe the imposter work is easy cuz certain doctors are just highly paid managers that do little actual specialist work.

@ animal farm pig

"I welcome more actions like this. When employers cannot tell the difference between a worker with a real degree and a fake one, it demonstrates the real value of the educational system."

Or human resources personnel, perhaps?

lazloAugust 8, 2012 11:50 PM

@Smooth-haired boss: I'm just really curious why you wouldn't chuck a resume with John Q Public, PhD just as fast?

philsuthAugust 9, 2012 1:00 AM

I'd be very careful who I bought fake credentials from - it's not as if you can purchase them under a false identity. A well organized gang could earn a nice secondary income stream from blackmailing those people to whom they'd supplied the credentials, once those people had gained employment using them.

SmileAugust 9, 2012 3:27 AM

Just £1000 to be an official double 0 secret agent, seems cheap to me. Obviously choosing 007 The Queen may recognise you were not the guy in the helicopter, but 008 or 006 would probably be fine!

WilliamAugust 9, 2012 4:00 AM

Everywhere you go in China, you see "办证刻章" followed by a phone number written/painted/stamped/stuck on the sidewalk, lampposts, walls, park benches, etc. 办证刻章 basically means "we make [fake] certifications and carve [fake] company seals [a.k.a. "chops"]." I wonder how many of them are as advanced as the ones mentioned in the article.

Danny MoulesAugust 9, 2012 4:10 AM

@Smooth-haired boss So you'd throw away a CV suffixed with CITP?

There's an argument to say the main problem with certifications is that the people intended to consume them are clueless as to how to hire.

bobAugust 9, 2012 4:22 AM

@vasiliy pupkin

In your example, assuming the guy's job is at a decent company and he can walk-the-walk, he could drop the fake qualifications from his CV and apply to work for us.

A year's experience from a decent company would get him an interview even if he had no academic qualifications.

A good interview would get him the job.

Peter A.August 9, 2012 7:37 AM

I have no real info about China, but I think it is safe to assume that there's a similar level of bureaucracy as in the Western countries. There is a lot of formal certificate types here, too, which are required for various mundane tasks. In reality these tasks could have been taught on the job in one-two days and mastered in a week, but legally require two-week formal training and cost so many local currency units. This is "for employee safety/security". Actually what these compulsory "certificates" secure is the income of certification businesses and corresponding government bodies.

One example from my place: to step on a ladder one meter high it is legally required to have an extra formal work safety training besides the one that's compulsory for all employees (and mostly useless besides). Therefore employees are officially forbidden to step on the ladders; low ladders are provided but quite often insufficient to reach a cable or a socket on the overhead racks in the lab. Officially one should ask lab admins to do such stuff (they have the "training"), but practically everyone does what he/she needs and the management looks the other way.

JimFiveAugust 9, 2012 7:47 AM

I'm going to support smooth-haired boss a bit here. There are differences between academic credentials (PhD), professional credentials (PE, CPA, MD) and vendor certifications (MSCE, CISSP). Vendor certifactions don't go after your name, they belong in the CV under professional development.

vasiliy pupkinAugust 9, 2012 10:13 AM

@Nick P
Thank you for link provided. I guess Frank is just exception.
"Or human resources personnel, perhaps?"
Nick and all other respected bloggers, please let me know who carved term 'overeducated' and planted it into HR personnel heads? I am not talking about certificates, but real degrees. I guess 'overeducated' could be only in the eyes of retarded. Is such redandancy in education just additional asset/potential source of brain power for hiring employer for position required cerativity in particular or they just looking for robots?

WaelAugust 9, 2012 1:11 PM

@ Peter A

Officially one should ask lab admins to do such stuff (they have the "training"), but practically everyone does what he/she needs and the management looks the other way.

The employer's goal is not to enforce these rules. The goal is to avoid legal liability. They teach you the course, and do their provable due diligence. If someone steps on a ladder and breaks his neck, the employer is not liable. I am not surprised managers will look the other way when someone breaks these "rules".

Nick PAugust 9, 2012 1:14 PM

@ vasiliy pupkin

You're welcome & he's certainly exceptional.

"Nick and all other respected bloggers, please let me know who carved term 'overeducated' and planted it into HR personnel heads? I am not talking about certificates, but real degrees. I guess 'overeducated' could be only in the eyes of retarded. Is such redandancy in education just additional asset/potential source of brain power for hiring employer for position required cerativity in particular or they just looking for robots?"

I hear you on that one. I'd add "overqualified" to that list. When trying the resume approach, I was rejected as overqualified for quite a few jobs (and underqualified for all others above them hmm). The thing about it that's messed up is that most companies are asking employees to do more with less, etc. Then, they turn down someone who can do more for less. (rolls eyes)

Peter A.August 9, 2012 1:47 PM

@Wael: it's the other way. They do NOT teach me the "course how to climb a ladder higher than 1 m but not higher than 3 m". They save money. Instead they forbid me to, even if in reality I have to. So if I fall, they can avoid legal problems by blaming ME for breaking "the rules" (and maybe even fire me, ha ha!) But if I turned to the "licensed to climb" to (re)connect every cable or reset a stuck device I would make no work progress and could be fired too.

The cause of all this absurd is idiotic regulation. Come on, nearly everybody knows how to climb a ladder, right? Idiots who don't do not get a job like this in the first place.

I can understand the need for some training if you're going to hang yourself off a tower to do your job. But to climb a 1 meter ladder? Nonsense! What's next, a mandatory course on how to climb stairs?

WaelAugust 9, 2012 1:58 PM

@ Peter A.

The cause of all this absurd is idiotic regulation. Come on, nearly everybody knows how to climb a ladder, right? Idiots who don't do not get a job like this in the first place.

WRONG! They become your VP :)

Clive RobinsonAugust 10, 2012 8:27 AM

@ Vasiliy Pupkin,

Just out of curiosity, how Google's HR is working? I guess it is quite opposite

To be honest I don't realy know, the only times I've had any dealings with them is when they have taken up references of people I used to work with.

And from the I've heard I don't think I'm the kind of person their UK operation would be that interested in.

vasiliy pupkinAugust 14, 2012 9:13 AM

I found that link very informative:
http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/enderle/google-and-how-bad-hiring-practices-can-kill-a-company/?cs=37619
in particular relevant to the subject:
"Against an applicant trained in interviewing, the process is virtually worthless. I've regularly watched people hired into senior positions on f a l s e credentials based largely on aced interviews. Ninety percent of the hiring process should be based on a validated skill match and deep background check".
I hope Moderator will not delete this posting before Clive and other bloggers read it.

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