A theory test fraudster has been locked up for two years and four months after being found guilty of taking theory tests for cheating learners – but he represents the tip of an iceberg as research shows the number of people cheating in the theory test is on the rise.
During his ‘run’, Coventry man Swallaxadin Abdul Bashir, 42, took payment to impersonate his ‘customers’ and take the test for them. His offences were carried out at 12 different test centres across Britain between October 2018 and August 2019.
Thanks to eagle-eyed test centre staff though, Bashir was reported to the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency’s fraud investigation team after they became suspicious he was impersonating candidates.
Test centres began turning Bashir away and since being caught, the DVSA has stated any test passed by Bashir has now been revoked. Critically, the agency is now hunting down the learners who paid for Bashir’s services.
It’s a task that shouldn’t prove too difficult as the candidates’ names will be logged at the test centre and there is every chance their details and enquiries about Bashir’s ‘service’ will be found on the fraudster’s seized mobile phone.
Incredibly, this is not the first time Bashir has been done for trying to cheat the theory test system. He was previously jailed for 18 months in August 2017 and for two years in July 2016 for the same fraudulent actions. Oh, and he received a six-month suspended sentence in February 2014 for committing similar offences.
You might think that catching Bashir should have been a simple task this time round but as the DVSA highlights, the crook travelled all over England and Wales, visiting different test centres to pull off his deception.
The DVSA’s priority is protecting everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. Theory tests are a vital way of assessing if people have the right driving knowledge and attitude to drive safely. Working with other agencies, we make every effort to prosecute theory test fraudsters and this significant prison sentence shows the impact of this work.”
– DVSA’s Head of Counter Fraud & Investigation, Andy Rice, on why the theory test is so vital to road safety.
Tip of the iceberg
Unfortunately, Bashir’s actions are part of a growing problem, which sees learners trying to cheat their way through the theory test. For instance, 1,522 people were investigated for cheating in their theory test in 2018/19 (compared to just 454 in 2013/2014) either by making calls with hidden Bluetooth earphones to get help from someone outside the test centre or by hiring someone to do the test for them.
It is worth bearing in mind that in the past, the DVSA had to ask independent investigators and the Crown Prosecution Service to bring cases to court. However, after bringing prosecutions in-house, the number of cases has now shot up as the DVSA aggressively goes after cheaters itself, which can only be good news.
Don’t be a cheater
The theory test is designed to be tough but with the right practise and guidance, there is no reason why anyone can’t pass. Remember to use services such as Theory Test Pro to help study the rules of the road and, if you find yourself struggling, talk to your driving instructor who can offer practical advice on your weak areas.
Also take mock theory tests to give yourself a clear idea of how the test is structured and learn what to expect on the big day itself from arrival through to the test itself. For some expert pointers, check out Theory Test Pro’s definitive guide here. Good luck!
Main image © DVSA