How to Spot a Fake CSCS Card

January 10, 2017

Occasionally in the construction industry, there are reports of fake CSCS cards in circulation that manage to get past employers.

If you are in charge of recruitment on your site and looking to clarify what’s real and what isn’t out of all the prospective employees wanting work, here are a few basic tips to help you weed out the un-qualified and get the quality trades people you need on your construction site:

Has the card got a photo?

Firstly, as obvious as it may seem, a prospective site workers CSCS card should have a passport style photo on the front. As with passport photos, it should be clear that the person in the photo is the same person handing you the card, with no head wear or glasses masking facial features.

Does the card have a name on it?

Another detail that seems obvious and one that you might think doesn’t prove anything in itself. But alarm bells should ring if there is no name on the card, and the format the name takes on the card is also important in establishing whether a card is valid or not.

The names on CSCS cards appear with the forenames in initials and the surname in full. For example, ‘Mr Construction Support Line’ would appear as ‘Mr C S Line’. If you are receiving submissions with ‘Mr John Smith’ as the name, questions should be asked.

Does the card have a valid expiry date?

Adjacent to the name and registration number on a valid CSCS card will be an expiration date. As with the way the name is presented, you will be able to tell quite quickly if an expiration date is incorrect.

Certain CSCS cards are awarded for different lengths of time – all red trainee CSCS cards last for a year to give their holder time to pass the NVQ they need for their next CSCS card. Should you receive a red CSCS card with an expiration date of November 2018, you will need to make some enquiries.

Does the card have a registration number?

The CSCS card being presented to you should also feature a registration number. This is a unique number that is issued after passing the Health, Safety and Environment test. It features on the front of the card next to an expiry date, and should be eight digits in length – a number that can be verified by contacting the Construction Support website.

Does the card feature a smartcard microchip?

The most accurate and simplest security detail to check and verify, a smartcard microchip contains information about the employee’s current level of construction NVQ qualification, their name, their nationality and their date of birth.

If you are a site supervisor or manager where you work, you will be able to check this information by reading the chip on the CSCS card in a smartcard reader. It will become apparent fairly quickly if this is not a regular CSCS card!