Case Study: Pre-Employment Screening Investigation Exposes Fake Degrees

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By Javeria Adeel

One of CRI Group’s regular clients in UAE is a manufacturing company, and it is working on a new construction project for which engineers are needed. They received numerous applications after advertising the positions in the media. The client “shortlisted” the best candidates after conducting initial interviews and were planning to appoint them, but before doing so, they wanted to confirm the education degrees of their prospective employees. 

There is a diverse mix of nationalities living in UAE, and it can be very challenging for an employer to conduct background screening on their own. So, to solve this problem, they requested expert assistance for their pre-employment screening needs.

The best pre-employment screening services will include a comprehensive list of checks. For example, experts are needed to:

  • Verify previous job

  • Verify highest degree obtained

  • Address verification

  • Criminal check

  • Verify national ID number

  • Research into past financial behavior

  • Verify past five years of employment

  • Discreet, in-depth reputation interviews

  • Litigation checks

  • Businesses owned, licenses held, legal/disciplinary actions

  • Media research

  • Property asset research

  • Research liens & bankruptcy records

In this case, the client needed degree verification in particular. So, the investigation team put “boots on the ground” and started a screening investigation and research. The first challenge with checking the applicants was that they were of multiple nationalities, including British, Irish, Indian and Pakistani engineers.

When investigators checked the engineers’ degrees, they learned that seven out of ten are from Pakistan (the majority from Lahore) and four out of seven of them had claimed fake degrees. Also, when an investigator contacted the universities in question, they found that the degrees were bogus – none of them ever enrolled in those universities, much less graduated from them.

When this evidence was presented to the client, the screening saved the company from making bad decisions that could have endangered thousands of lives (being that it is a construction company) while also potentially damaging the reputation of the company.

  Javeria Adeel is a Researcher and Fraud 360 Correspondent for CRI Group.