Tuesday July 3, 2012
Penang acting chief SAC II Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaffar said they banked in the money into eight different accounts under the name of a 26-year-old man, one of the three suspects arrested.
He said the syndicate promised to upload the names of the buyers onto a USM database using a special software but then did not even respond to any phone calls after the money had been banked in.
“Initial investigations determined there was no inside job,” he told reporters at the south Seberang Prai district police headquarters in Jawi, near here, yesterday.
SAC II Abdul Rahim said the syndicate might have started its operations about four months ago, adding that the price of a “certificate” signified good luck.
The brains behind the syndicate is a 24-year-old woman, a former USM student.
A police source said that she had a Facebook account offering the fake scrolls which had garnered 516 “likes”.
Besides the former student, a 25-year-old woman and the male suspect were nabbed at a house in Kampar, Perak, on Saturday.
Police seized several computers and a soft copy of a USM scroll in one of the computers.
He advised employers to ask them to show their academic transcripts during the interviews. “Each bears a unique serial number of that undergraduate. This cannot be falsified.
“We also have the Gazetted Graduate Convocation Book, which is a physical database with the particulars of all the graduates.
“We have produced 120,000 graduates since our establishment,” he added.
He said other unique characteristics of a USM certificate included the university’s watermark and seal.
Those who wish to verify the authenticity of USM certificates can contact 04-653 2193 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By S. ARULLDAS and TAN SIN CHOW email@example.com
Ex-student behind fake degrees
Monday July 2, 2012
GEORGE TOWN: The brains behind two online degree mills that allegedly churned out fake Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) scrolls is a former student of the university.
A police source said the 24-year-old woman had a Facebook account offering such scrolls and this had garnered 516 ‘likes’.
She and two others – another woman, aged 25, and a man, 26 – were nabbed at a house in Kampar, Perak, on Saturday.
Several computers were seized in the raid. A soft copy of a USM scroll was found in one of the computers.
The source said a younger sibling of one of the suspects could be a USM student.
The university had lodged a police report on the matter, which is being investigated as cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code.
Vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Omar Osman said the university conducted an internal investigation before lodging the reports with the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on Friday.
The university has since improved the security measures of the university scrolls.
A check by The Star had revealed that a “full degree package” was priced at RM5,888 and was non-negotiable, with the document delivered within a week.
A downpayment of RM400 has to be deposited into a bank account online and a photocopy of the applicant’s MyKad e-mailed before “work” on the degree could begin.
Penang commercial crime investigations chief Asst Comm Roslee Chik said the police were investigating if there are other syndicates selling such university degrees.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said those looking to get a university degree should earn the qualification.
“As far as I know, USM is the first university in Malaysia that has become the target of such a syndicate,” he said yesterday.
He told reporters at a function in Pasir Gudang that his ministry would study security methods used in other countries to stop syndicates from producing fake degree certificates and selling them to students.
Mohamed Khaled said it was currently difficult to determine if a degree certificate was genuine or not as there was no standard design for it.
By ZALINAH NOORDIN and DESIREE TRESA GASPER firstname.lastname@example.org