Certification Scam! (Unethical Practices of Some Certification Sellers)

Certifications are important as they signify that you, a professional, have undergone training to enhance your skills.   

If you have worked hard and trained you deserve that cert.

This article is not about the honest folks who practice for hours and hours, take their test and come out on the other end with tangible evidence.  

This article is about the underbelly of the IT world.  The creatures in this place are not so far from our reach.  They slither around LinkedIn and other professional places, attempting to leach off busy professionals who want a cert but are just too busy with life.

I get it, life is busy.  Family, friends, hobbies, just doing the day to day thing can be a lot.

I personally spend time on LinkedIn sharing articles, videos and chatting with other people of like mind.  It's a decent networking tool.

One thing that happens from time to time is people hitting you up for sales.  Specifically sales of certs.  

Now I typically block these people.  

I find their tactics, insincere and tired.

I thought I would capture a conversation and provide it here for education and entertainment.  We see the beginning of the sale, and eventually you see that I was able to reveal a bit more about the process.  Even as far as getting the sales person to tell me that someone else will write my tests for me and that it is "hard" to crack CCNA tests.  

Below you will see the cert retailer (white letters) and my responses in yellow.  At the end of the conversation I provide my analysis of the conversation.



thanks for connecting How are you doing today? Are you interested in AWS, Azure, Google cloud, ITIL, DevOps, TOGAF, CISSP, CCNA cyber security or any other certification



May I know which certification you are looking for?

All of these sound great to me :)


So which one you are looking to do first?


Which organization are you with?


May I know what you want training or only certification?

I am from ****** education

I am waiting for your response


Let's go with certification

I am waiting for your response...

How much $ for a CCNA cert?

great is it possible to discuss everything over the phone call?

if you have a link I can look at, that would be awesome :)

As you know that each and every point can't be discussed on chat and we can negotiate on call

Your profile says "training and freelancer?" You mentioned previously that you work for ****.  Do you work for **** or are you a freelancer?

I haven't heard from you in a while.  I was hoping you could tell me more about your courses and certs

I am working as a freelancer with **** company

First i would like to tell you the hole process of Microsoft examination.  Now this time the CCNA examination is online going on.  So what we will do i have power Bi certified trainer, He has 18 years experience.

He will write the exam on your behalf and you will get the certification by your name at the same time

Once your examination done then i will provide your certification result at the same time and you will also get the official mail from institute.  That's means yes you are CCNA certified now.

And I thing I must say i got the news form the trainer and he said after same time the examination will be change in center based.  So that time it will be more difficult to crack it.

Thanks for letting me know the process.  This person write it for me?

I'm intrigued


could you please share your contact number so that I will share your details with our product head and she/he will contact you and tell you more with all and you can also ask your doubts?

I prefer LinkedIn messaging.  It works very well as I respond to these messages more promptly


My main question is, why should I pick an organization in New Delhi over something in my own Country?  If someone is writing for me, do I pay a lot less to have someone over there to write the exam for me?

I'm not really interested in a phone call until I have more concrete numbers to work with

########## Radio Silence ###########

At the end I asked the wrong question which led to the conversation being terminated.  I would have kept engaging, however the seller clearly realized it was all in vain.

What can we gain from this conversation?

First it's not wrong to sell certs.  This person clearly had an agenda, they didn't actually care to develop their professional network, their intention was purely to sell me something.  I have encountered a number of people like this and I understand the game.  It's about numbers.  The goal is to see how many people can be blasted in a day with the hopes they will become a sale.

Where this conversation diverged was when they revealed their process.  I don't actually write the cert exam.  They have some person in a different country that will write for me.  

It kind of defeats the purpose of studying and testing your skill doesn't it? 

Would they fake wrong answers to make it seem more believable?  If this organization wants happy customers why would they ever have someone fail?  I wouldn't want someone to write an exam for me that could fail the test.

Another clue that something unethical is happening is that the person reveals that they have to "crack" the cert.  


At this point I was able to get the person to confess aspects of their process that revealed that unethical practices are afoot.  When the conversation started, I did not suspect that it would be like this. Regardless I know which company to avoid!

I want to take a moment to analyze the tactics used here.

1. This person's job is solely to shotgun LinkedIn, testing to see who responds.  They test the waters and if the water is not freezing they zero in.

2.  Quickly assess what are areas of interest, truthfully I don't think it matters.  Folks like this just want you to sign up as quick as possible.

3.  Notice that near the beginning of the conversation, they were quite aggressive "I'm waiting for your response..."  I didn't include time stamps in the chat here, but literally 1 minute had passed.

4.  After I express interest in CCNA they want to move to the next phase, the phone call.  This is because this person is not the closer.  If I were to provide contact info I would have been shuttled off to the next level of sales which would have been much more aggressive.

5.  I asked questions which gave the impression that I was getting cold feet.  They were so close to shipping me off to the next sales person!!  If we look again at the conversation, they answered some of my questions.  Guaranteed they are not supposed to mention illegal activity in the first level of sales.

6.  I continue yanking them around too see what other information I can get.  At this point they know this sale is not going to happen and they drop me.


I still think Certs are good.  The problem is that companies like this devalue certs.  When someone can get a cert without actually earning it, what's the point?

Ask questions when people are talking with you.  If something is said that is a suspicious or your red flags are waving, ask more questions. 

Thanks for reading

Reference: image: https://www.amazon.com/Selling-Military-Weapons-Cartoon-Sticker/dp/B07K4Z6HJ3

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