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CSCS Cards – Forgeries on the increase
Posted by David Cant on July 4, 2015

CSCS Cards – Forgeries on the increase

Fake CSCS cards and how to avoid themWe are told that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which means that forgeries indicate the esteem in which CSCS cards are held. After all, if the cards were worthless, people would not go to the trouble of trying to copy them.

Man jailed for using forged CSCS card

Construction worker Isaac Agyekun was recently sentenced to 18 months in jail after being convicted of several offences involving use of fraudulent CSCS cards. Agyekun was reported to the CITB fraud investigation team after presenting a suspicious CSCS card to the site manager at the Westfield shopping centre site in East London.

Following the advice of the CITB fraud investigator, police were called to the site where Agyekun was arrested. During a search of his personal belongings, police discovered several more fake CSCS cards in his possession.

Spotting fakes

With CSCS cards being the de facto standard for proof of skills, experience and ability, it is little surprise that some workers are tempted to purchase fakes – especially if it helps them get a job. But people using counterfeit cards present a significant risk on site, particularly if they have not undertaken any of the training required to earn a card.

To keep other employees and the general public safe, it is important to be able to spot fake cscs cards, so that you can prevent uncertified persons from entering your site. Each card uses a series of anti-forgery techniques for site managers to check including:

Personal details

A quick check of the name and photograph printed on the card will allow you to verify personal details at a glance. Does the picture look like the person standing in front of you? Does the name match? Yes? Then the card has passed the first security test.

The colour of the card

Every CSCS card is colour coded to provide at-a-glance confirmation of the types of roles for which the holder is qualified. Make sure that the person entering site holds the correct colour card for the job they have been employed to do. Electricians should have gold-coloured cards for instance, while a skilled bricklayer will have a blue one.

You can find a handy reference tool that shows the correct colour card for each job role on the CSCS website.

The hologram

Each card has a small CSCS hologram in the top left hand corner. Like the anti-fraud device on bank cards, the hologram should change colour as the card is moved, revealing additional detail depending on the angle it is held at.

If the hologram is missing, or the graphics do not shift, the card may be a forgery.

Smart card tests

Finally every new CSCS card has a smart chip embedded in it, again like a modern credit card. The chip has the holder’s details digitally encoded so that a quick scan with a reader should show a picture of their face and name, matching that printed on the card. This information can be accessed using a dedicated smartcard reader attached to a laptop, or via the official CSCS Go Smart for Android app (free to download and use).

If the chip doesn’t scan, or the digital information doesn’t match the printed data, the card is definitely counterfeit.

Take the time to familiarise yourself with the CSCS card scheme, and you too could avoid problems with unqualified staff causing safety issues on site. CSCS card fraud is on the rise, so you must be vigilant to avoid being duped.

So over to you – have you ever detected a fake CSCS card? What did you do next?


Director at Veritas Consulting. 20+ years as a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a brain you can pick. A trusted, risk savvy portfolio professional who is fluent in practical advice and an effective workplace solutionist.

You can find him on - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

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