File picture: Independent Media
Durban - The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal has warned matriculants not to fall victim to a scam that promises “genuine” matric certificates.

In social media posts, the scam artists purport to work for the department “privately” and said they could provide matric certificates for R1500.

It also called on those who dropped out of school to contact them “because we write tests for you”.

When The Mercury sent a message to the number, a person calling themselves a “database capturer”, responded and said they did not sell fake matric certificates and claimed to follow the department’s registration system “to help you guys get a legit barcoded and serial numbered certificate like everyone who passed their matric”.

The messenger said: “We register you to the Department of Education system and you get an SMS confirming you have been registered.

“After 14 days you receive a SMS as to collect your matric certificate [at] your closest Department of Education office.”

The messenger advised that R1500 should only be paid after the applicant received the SMS.

According to the message, the money is used to bribe people in the department where the certificates are made.

The messenger also said payments should be made at a Pep store.

“Use Pep stores. They only want your ID, then send the PIN and the slip [through] WhatsApp. We use Pep to protect myself as I am under my superior’s nose.

“If caught I could lose my career + jail time so I share no personal information,” (sic) the message reads.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said they instructed senior department officials to work with police to arrest culprits behind fake matric certificate scams.

“It’s a fact that some of the learners may not pass their matric exams. It is also an expectation that parents will try to get their children into finishing schools where they will complete their qualification or write the subjects which they have failed.

“Our official position as a department is that we do not sell matric certificates and we have not commissioned anyone to solicit money from the public in exchange for a matric certificate,” Mshengu said.

He advised that necessary arrangements through accredited institutions were available across all high schools in KwaZulu-Natal for those who might wish to participate in a legitimate and authentic process in obtaining a matric certificate.

In June, The Mercury reported on a woman selling fake matric certificates for R5000 each on social media.

The woman also offered fake identity documents and three months of banking statements for R2000 each.

At that time, education quality council Umalusi spokesperson Lucky Ditaunyane said that matric certificates had 12 security features, most of which needed to be withheld from the public for security reasons.

The Mercury