The internet is an easy source for academic and business fraud. Be aware of the risk from predators.

Forgery and Counterfeiting

Definition: The creation of a false written document or alteration of a genuine one, with the intent to defraud.

Forgery consists of filling in blanks on a document containing a genuine signature, or materially altering or erasing an existing instrument (document). 

Counterfeiting, often associated with forgery, is a separate category of fraud involving the manufacturer, alteration, or distribution of a product that is of lesser value than the genuine product.

Fraudulent behavior in the water safety and rescue field can include the falsification and forgery of safety records.

Also; documents, log books, inspection checklists and misleading and lying to people about the safety and rescue qualifications, competencies and accreditations held by an individual or a company.

This behavior constitutes a serious crime when discovered by enforcing authorities. Inevitably it can lead to criminal proceedings that can result in custodial sentences and fines.

It is a frightful experience to discover that an innocent and unsuspecting victim(s), have been lied to. 

Professional misconduct charges can be applied by contracting organizations of false course or documents due to the fraudster’s actions.


All organizations need to be alert to the fact that there are individuals and companies who are dishonest to the extend they are willing to put people’s lives at risk, programs, ruin victim’s reputation, and or damage or destroy equipment.

Organizations and students who seek professional training services need to take proper steps and counter measures to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of safety and rescue fraud.

What this means if to develop a ‘FRAUD POLICY’. Be aware of possible fraud risks, potential consequences and legal outcomes that would apply to your area of operation or management.

Those involved in forgery and/or falsification records, certifications, manuals and qualifications will breach the sacred trust of lifesaving and will most likely have to face the courts to be held responsible for their conduct.

Falsification of records is a prosecutable crime.  Even if there is no enforcement action taken against the fraudsters the falsification of records can have significant health and safety repercussion for those involved.

This also is a serious consideration for the general public who is depending upon professionally vetted responders and programs.


Some students, companies and instructors falsify their qualifications and accreditations. They may violate the termination date of their qualifications records and continued unlicensed and untested. 

  • They may teach reckless and negligent operations and methods.
  • They may utilize untested and suspect equipment that is not standardized for life and safety use.
  • They may utilize, sell or promote Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that does not comply with water safety and rescue needs.
  • They may not train to a risk management and risk mitigation knowledge base.
  • They may not have a safety plan of action or the necessary equipment to do so.
  • They may teach people below the status quo rendering their operations unsafe, unpractical and negligent.
  • They may have self-appointed themselves as an instructor and were never audited by an unbiased third-party accredited assessor.
  • They may have pirated other organizations training materials lacking interpretation and a fundamental understanding of the practices and stages therewithin.


Forgery, fraud and falsification of records places lives in danger, can ruin unsuspecting client’s reputation and create loss or damage of equipment. 

When people are the bearers of falsified documents, they are given the impression by the fraudster that the behaviors they were trained with are safe, when they are not. 

Those who are responsible for managing programs, personnel, equipment and public health and safety need to be alerted to any possibility of fraud.

1. Make sure when interviewing business and instructor candidates that the proper background checks are conducted thoroughly.

2. Carefully select those who will be responsible for hiring or appointing training contractors that statutory registers and records are conducted and audit the results of all phases of instruction.

3. Pay attention closely to instructor verification records where fraud is possible.  Authenticate the records that are presented for scrutiny. Request the responsible auditors and make contact with them and get in writing that they are authentic and accredited.

The International Rescue Instructors Association (IRIA) audits and authenticates its instructor members and course providers. Contact IRIA for an inquiry and to verify the authenticity and accuracy of credentials.

Please review IRIA’s Three Strikes Policy: https://iria.org/three-strikes-policy/