Just do a quick search on Snapchat to find fake accounts proposing work stoppages. These even go as far as guarantee that the certificates are signed and stamped by a real doctorwith dates to choose from, and that they will be sent by e-mail within 15 minutes at a cost of from 15 to 30 euros. Some counterfeiters even go so far as to offer their customers the choice between several health establishments to accredit the authenticity of their sick leave. Behind this practice are hidden considerable harm. The doctors whoseidentity has been stolen find themselves victims of this fraud. Health insurance funds, mutual insurance companies and employers contact them to verify the validity of work stoppages issued in their name. A general practitioner in Paris testifies to having received several calls from different places in France asking him to confirm the veracity of work stoppages which had been transmitted to them. He then discovers that his identity has been used “in all of France” to produce false certificates (source 1).
Moral and financial prejudice
Not only does this practice cause considerable harm to physicians, but it also a significant cost for Social Security. In 2021, Social Security estimated that the damage linked to the falsification of sick leaves amounted to 3.4 million euros over one year. In addition to these negative consequences, this practice poses a threat to public health. People who use false certificates to justify an extended absence from work may, in fact, be carriers of contagious diseases. This situation can therefore promote the spread of epidemics and constitutes a real danger to the health of the population. It is therefore important that the competent authorities put in place effective measures to combat this fraud and punish the counterfeiters who are responsible for it. Physicians should also be vigilant and report any identity theft. Customers should also understand the risks associated with using fake certificates and ensure that the certificates they obtain are issued by a real, accredited doctor.
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