More job applicants resort to false degrees to increase their chances of employment even when companies are stepping up checks on such fraud.
Private investigators and specialized firms dealing with background surveys of potential employees for companies say that their work is getting harder and that some fake cases can pass.
They commented that the man behind the leak of HIV data, Mikhi Farrera Brochez, managed to use false educational credentials to work as a lecturer in two polytechnics in Singapore.
The American and his Singapore lover, Ler Teck Siang, were later convicted of their role in cheating on two blood tests to enable HIV-positive Brochez to pass the tests.
The Ministry of Health revealed on Monday that Brochez, who was deported after being released from prison in April last year, leaked online personal information and HIV status to 14,200 Singaporeans and permanent residents.
Ler pulled confidential data to the drive when he was the head of the National Public Health Unit.
Mr James Loh, director of international investigators, said some companies would pay up to $ 15,000 to check the qualifications of a potential employee.
"Some educational institutions do not receive checks via e-mail or phone," he said.
Some customers would pay to travel to the foreign university to confirm the qualifications of the applicant, he added.
"When it comes to a senior position with a six-month annual salary, some companies do not mind spending a five-digit sum."
A potential employee with certificates that are found to be false or suspect is rejected.
Mr Loh said that some companies also oversee employees who are considering upgrading to high positions, and can be replaced or degraded if checks cause concern.
In both scenarios, most companies would deal with this issue internally without involving the police, Loh said.
Mr David Kang, founder of SG Investigators, said that the implementation of background controls has become increasingly difficult due to privacy laws.
"It's good that personal information is protected, but that means we can not freely check the origin of people," he said.
As a result, there is no guarantee that fraud can be identified.
Mr. Kannan Chettiar, director of Avvanz, a background research firm, said that, based on their experience, "more than 35 percent" biography has some form of disagreement.
"Organizations have begun checks not only on high-risk individuals, but also on new members and existing employees," he said.
Ms. Elizabeth Fitzell, Executive Director of the Risk Group, said that "around 8 to 10 percent" checks create problematic qualifications.
"The most common scenario is the people who were in the institution, but they never completed the course," she said.
She added that the only way to confirm their authenticity is to check with the institution.
"Certificates can be easily created online," she said. "Or you can get them from the staircase mills."