Fabricated health documents and their risks

Fabricated health documents and their risks

Diplomas are not the only documents that are often falsified. Forgery of health documents is no less common. Health documents are essentially documents issued by practitioners or health facilities, which include medical certificates and treatment letters, medical receipts, maternity leave letters, medical check-up reports, and so on.

Each health document has its own function. A medical certificate, for example, is a statement that the person concerned is sick and must rest for a determined period of time. In other cases, medical check-up reports are usually a prerequisite for job applications or promotions, as a statement of a candidate’s physical fitness.

Fake health documents

Unfortunately, quite a few cases of health document falsification occur. One of them is the case of the falsification of medical check-up certificates for prospective foreign workers.

More broadly, falsification of medical documents also includes any activity that intentionally alters the contents of the original document, such as deleting diagnostic reports, entering information without standard documentation, rewriting or destroying records, omitting important facts, or even creating records for fictitious patients.

In particular, the falsification of health documents also includes the manipulation (altering) of medical records by health practitioners. Several cases that occurred in America show that violations of this nature have legal consequences and/or result in large fines.

Circulation of fake medical certificates

The service of forging medical certificates or other fake health documents is nothing new. Along with the development of digital technology, the practice of falsifying health documents is becoming increasingly common. In practice, perpetrators offer their services online and use the names of medical practitioners and health facilities.

This counterfeiting modus operandi is also supported by the creation of fake health agency stamps and the printing of fake letterheads that look original, which, thanks to the advancement of technology, is much easier to do.

The snowball effect

Even though it seems like a simple crime, the effects of forging fake health documents can snowball into dire situations—the effects can be fatal.

For health agencies that are named in a health document, credibility is at stake. Even if they do not factually issue health documents that are found to be fake, public trust will decline.

For companies or organizations that hire employees who use fake health documents, it is a loss for the company if it turns out that the candidate’s health condition is not as stated in the certificate. For example, a candidate’s fake free drug-testing results can state that he does not take drugs when in fact, he is a drug user. This can carry risks for the company that recruits him, in terms of operational efficiency and reputation.

In the wider community, a person’s fake health certificate has the potential to increase the spread of disease. This has been proven during the recent COVID-19 pandemic with fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards being widespread in several countries.

The anticipation of being trapped in document forgery

Due to the effects described above, it is only appropriate to have severe legal consequences for the perpetrators of health document forgery. That being said, counterfeiting laws differ from nation to nation.

The Forgery and Counterfeiting Act of 1981 governs counterfeiting legislation in the United Kingdom. In France, it is governed by the Penal Code. In Indonesia, the perpetrators and unscrupulous medical practitioners who falsify health certificates can be subject to Articles 263 and 267 of the Criminal Code.

However, laws are instated after incidents occur. It would be better to take precautionary measures so as not to get caught in the maelstrom of fake health documentation.

For instance, companies and institutions must be more careful and verify the authenticity of health documents submitted by candidates or their employees. Companies can do this themselves or with the help of third parties who are proven professionals in verifying health documents.

With more than two decades of experience in compliance, Integrity Asia has been trusted by clients from various business backgrounds to provide employment background screening services. One of the methods carried out in background screening is verifying candidates’ health documents.

Contact us today for more information about document verification services.


Photo by Freepik

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