The shamelessness of the certificate mill industry never ends. Now it seems some scammer took content from the website of the official Australian accreditation body, JAS-ANZ, and created a huge number of websites for competing — and fake — accreditation bodies.

The source website material comes from JAS-ANZ’s page “Helping Markets Work Better”, located here. That page was then copied to create a nest of fake ABs, some of which then try to imitate the names and/or logos of real accreditation bodies.

Accredi“, for example, is supposed to look like the Italian accreditation body, ACCREDIA. Meanwhile, “JAS-AAS” is supposed to sound like the real JAS-ANZ, but it stands for “Joint Accreditation System of America and Asia Services.”

There’s more… a lot more. They each claim a certain portion of the world as their alleged geographical scope, but likely come from the same scammer’s basement.

CIAS-BAR” (Canadian International Accreditation Services – Bureau of Accredited Registrars) claims to operate in Canada, while NAAM
(National Accreditation of America) pretends to be a US-based body. “USAC” (United States Accreditation Council) also claims a US address.

“USAS” (United States Accreditation Services) hopes you will think they are actually an American version of the UK’s official AB, UKAS. Meanwhile, the scammer pretends to operate out of Switzerland, too, via “SIAC(E)“, the  Swiss International Accreditation Center.

Some others are just random swapping of similar words and letters, like “IACAB” (Institute of Accredited Conformity & Assessment Board) and “ACBCB(Accreditation Conformity Board for Certification Bodies.)

None of the scam sites have any real addresses, nor list any actual human beings to contact. Many of the sites still include “lorem ipsum” filler text, as the scammer couldn’t even bother to finish interior pages.

Shivam Shah

A search on LinkedIn shows almost no trace of any of the alleged companies — almost. A few empty accounts do show up for CIAS-BAR and ACBCB, and seem to come from China; another claims to come from India.

A search of WHOIS records came up with obfuscated data for all the sites, except one. The domain for SIAC(E) was created without any privacy masking, and traced back to one Shivam Shah of Gujarat India. The email listing is given as shivam.shah2711@gmail.com, which then traces back to an Instagram account here.  This then allowed me to track him to a Facebook page, here. It’s not clear, however, if Shah is the mastermind behind this network of fake accreditation mills, or just the guy who registered a domain name for someone else.

Meanwhile, we can’t know for sure if JAS-ANZ knows its site has been stolen, but there’s not much they can likely do about it. And, in the end, it’s like playing whack-a-mole; slap down one fake mill, and another pops up five minutes later.

About Christopher Paris

Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.

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