Monday 2 July 2012

Fake USM degree syndicate conned more than 20 people

NIBONG TEBAL: Three people detained in connection with fake Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) degrees have cheated more than 20 people in the last three months.

Penang acting police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said members of a syndicate offered 'USM degrees' for sale at RM4,888 each via a specific website.

"The modus operandi is to advertise the 'USM degrees' and ain access to USM database via a website," he told a press conference at Seberang Perai Selatan police headquarters here on Monday.
Syndicate members would ask buyers to deposit money into an account belonging to certain individuals but refused to conduct any transaction over the phone.

Police are checking the relationship between the bank account holder and the three people arrested.
Eight bank ATM cards were seized from the three people detained including two women.
Initial investigation found that the man had used a genuine USM degree belonging to his sister and used software to change the name on the degree.

Rahim said the two women, a USM graduate and a private college graduate, were also the man's girlfriends.
"We conducted intelligence and surveillance for two months after USM lodged a police report on the sale of fake degrees via a website." The suspects detained in a house in Kampar, Perak two days ago were remanded until Tuesday pursuant to Section 420 and 468/471 of the Penal Code.
Police seized equipment including 12 desktop computers and five laptop computers believed used for producing the fake degrees.

Meanwhile, USM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Omar Osman said that every degree certificate from the university had various security features, including the serial number and watermark to ensure its authenticity. "Thus, it is impossible for any individual to produce copies of it and passing them off as original," he said, adding that there should also be no public scepticism over USM degree qualifications. "The original certificate also carries a logo that has been changed, signature of the vice-chancellor, registrar and USM seal which has its own safety features. 

"Every graduate is also listed in the computer data and manual data known as 'Buku Warta Konvokesyen Graduan' (Graduands Convocation Gazette Book)," he told reporters, here, on Monday.
According to him, a total of 120,000 graduates of the university had been recorded in the book since USM's first convocation ceremony in 1972.

"However, those who need assurance can call USM by giving the serial number printed on the degree certificate, and we will verify it," Omar said. He said USM took the criminal act of the suspects seriously as it could damage the image of the university, adding that USM left the case to the police for investigation and further action. - Bernama

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