Forensics of Academic Documents: Part II

10 things you need to know:

As part of our on-going blogs on detecting fraudulent documents, this week’s blog offers 10 general steps you need to consider when handling academic documents (official, original or attested copies), whether for evaluation, admission or employment.

1. Familiarize yourself with the educational system of the countries you receive academic documents and request academic documents by using the terminology appropriate to the country you’re evaluating

2. Check the biographical data such as name, sex, date of birth, city and country of birth on the academic documents including your institutional application form to ensure everything matches

3. Use the date of birth as a way to determine whether the person, for example, has in fact completed the equivalent of high school

4. Notice if there are any “gaps” in the educational history based on the information provided on your institutional application form and the academic documents submitted

5. Check the applicant’s name on each document and if it differs by document or information on the application form, request for official proof of name change.

6. Compare the document you are reviewing against previous documents you have on file from the same country and check for consistencies (logo and insignia of the institution, format of document, texture and print, etc.)

7. Check the status of the institution to ensure that it is recognized by an internationally recognized authority in the country of study

8 Check references (print publications on world education systems, directories, on-line information) to see if the program studied, ie. major/field of study, is in fact offered by the institution

9. Review all correspondence (e.g. packages, envelopes, emails) received for postmarks and addresses to ensure they reflect the address of the issuing academic institution and not a personal/private address

10. Sometimes applications are submitted minutes or hours before deadlines making verification difficult and next to impossible. Insist on the importance on document verification. Don’t buckle under pressure!

In a future blog, I’ll share with you some clues to look for when reviewing academic documents.

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI, Inc.
June 30, 2011

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