Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
Caribbean ExaminationS Council (CXC) passes are available for sale on the streets of Kingston for up to $12,000 per subject, even if you did not take the exam. The Sunday Gleaner has been able to purchase a solid pass in mathematics from a scammer who provided us with a preliminary result slip which is an almost perfect copy of the ones distributed by CXC.
During a covert operation last week, a member of our news team, posing as a desperate student, bought a grade one in the CXC's Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) mathematics from one of the scammers.
After making the link via the BlackBerry messenger service, our reporter met with the man in downtown Kingston and handed over the $12,000.
The preliminary result slip was delivered days later with the fake name and the fake date of birth which our reporter had given to the scammer.
The scammers had added a registration number, centre number and 'Jamaica Private' signifying that the exam was taken privately in January 2012.
The preliminary slip shows an A (for knowledge), A
(for comprehension) and B (for reasoning) profile, which is just shy of a distinction.
The preliminary results slip had the watermarks of the CXC that appear on the authentic versions of the document.Not even officials at CXC's local office in Jamaica could immediately tell the difference between the purchased slip and an authentic preliminary results slip which was printed in Barbados.
It took a check of the CXC database where it was found that the name and grade had not been officially entered to determine that the result slip was fake.
The scammer had claimed that in addition to the preliminary slip, the information would have been added to the CXC database by one of his sources who worked with the regional entity.
"For the CXC (CSEC), each subject costs $12,000. You get the CXC slip and it says 'Jamaica Private'' like you sit the CXC exam privately," he said.
"You don't get a certificate because you don't need one. You just give them the slip if you applying for a job or going college. It's also on the system," the scammer added in his sales pitch.
He continued: "When you pay your money, just give me your full name, date of birth, subject, grade, year of subject and if it's January or June. That's all. You get it in two to three days."
When asked if he was sure the grade would illegally find its way on to the CXC database, the scammer told our news team that his illegal operation has been thriving for years.
"I'm doing this for years now darling. I just drop off two at wharf this morning. It's in demand. I'm sure when I deliver yours you're gonna tell a friend about it too," he bragged.
However, officials at CXC's Jamaica office denied that the scammers have the capacity to breach its fortified database and input the cooked-up grades into its system.
According to Susan Giles, senior assistant registrar at the western zone office of the CXC located in Jamaica, the database used by regional body to store grades cannot be cracked by the scammers.
"They can't get into our database. No doubt about that. Our system is too protected," said Giles.
She said her office was not aware that scammers had obtained the preliminary results slip template and were illegally profiting from fraudulent grades.
"I didn't know it was happening. It's the first time I'm hearing of it," said Giles, who is also head of examinations, administration and security at the CXC western zone office.
Verify any qualification
Giles urged employers and educational institutions to consult CXC if they need to verify any qualification received from prospective students and employees.
"Let employers know this: write to CXC and ask for verification," she said.
Giles pointed out that in emergency cases, a company or institution can send a copy of the results slip to the CXC office and it can be verified in a day or two.
However, she said the office would prefer if employers and educational institutions ask the prospective student or employee to apply for a transcript online which would be sent directly to the employer or school.
The scammer also declared that he could produce university degrees or Heart/Trust NTA certificates, but had not yet perfected the art of falsifying the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations result slips.