The recent arrest of a 40-year-old internet café owner from the east of Johannesburg on charges of fraud for allegedly producing fake certificates, school reports, and asylum papers should make employers consider the validity of their employee or potential employee documents.

Good practices during recruitment of new employees are critical to business success. A key issue is to obtain relevant documentary evidence of qualifications and the employer has the responsibility to ensure that the documents, such as qualifications and licences are genuine.

Obtaining a history of the potential employee’s past work experience may be more difficult but an independent verification agency is always able to professionally assist with this.

When asked how employers could protect themselves from such fraudsters, Sonya Skipp of iFacts suggested that employers take strong action against employees who were not entirely honest during the employment selection process. She said that sadly once an employee was hired and dishonesty uncovered the employer would maybe have to prove that the employee had dishonestly hidden facts relevant to the inherent requirements of the job. This could lead to a disciplinary process that would be timely and expensive.

Skipp said that sadly the number of invalid and fraudulent documents available to potential employees was becoming a bigger concern for South African employers.

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