Fake doctor's notes for sale over internet

Last updated 22:00 03/08/2008

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Workers who pull a sickie are buying fake medical certificates over the internet in the name of their doctor.

The site sells "professional-looking" fake notes and certificates from New Zealand general practitioners, "on official doctor's notepaper, with a doctor's stamp".

Doctorsnotestore.com is run by Australian backpackers based in Britain.

They told the Herald Sun in Australia that they sold about 100 fake sick certificates in Australia and New Zealand each month, and many more in Britain, to fund their travel.

Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said employers had always been given fake medical certificates, but this was "the oldest trick in the book - with a new twist".

People who were likely to use the site to get a certificate were probably the same type of employees who would suffer from "Monday-itis".

"There is a risk to the employee that they will be found to have committed a dishonesty offence if they use fraudulent documents."

Workplace absentee costs reportedly cost Kiwi employers more than $3 billion a year.

Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners chief executive Karen Thomas said though the site was "despicable", it showed that GPs were not pushovers and would not give certificates without good reason.

The site suggests workers use illness excuses such as pneumonia or clinical depression and offers delivery within 24 hours and a "buy one, get one free" deal for $59.99. It displays testimonials from customers who say they have skipped work by using the fakes despite the claim they are to be used as a "novelty" only.

The Holidays Act 2003 provides a minimum five sick days a year for most employees.

An employer may ask for proof if an employee has been sick for three consecutive days or if there are grounds to think that the sick leave is not for genuine reasons.

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- The Dominion Post

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