Corruption, Bribes, and DNA Fraud -- How to Protect Yourself
We've had mothers try to secretly offer a bribe to make the test show that the man is the father, as well as underworld people ask us to participate in schemes to make people appear related. Of course, we have never accepted their offers, and will never. We've also been threatened after refusing a bribe. They have come to our office to speak in person, and they have even called us on the phone.
If some people are trying this with us, then we may believe that they could try this at other places, too.
We've also had experience with outsiders targeting and trying to recruit staff to secretly go against their employer's will.
This is why we do not have a lot of branches with a lot of partners networked all over Thailand, handling DNA like a business commodity, just to sell and make money. Our DNA specimens for all over Thailand are handled by only 4 people, three of whom are family, and the other one whom we have worked with closely for more than 10 years and who is of trustworthy character. It doesn't matter if we have to drive or even fly somewhere far away. It's important.
It is no surprise that some embassies, such as the American Embassy, require that all DNA tests be done inside their facility and the DNA never get out of their sight / site, being sent directly from the embassy to the laboratory overseas.
Besides mistakes that can be made by basically trained people, or by DNA exchanging many hands, there can also be intentional deception. The best way to ensure the integrity of a DNA testing operation is to have the minimum number of people handle or have access to the DNA specimens, who are proven trustworthy, very well known, and well trained.
Thailand has a lot of people who accept corruption as part of their subculture. (However, there are also many Thais who are very proper and against corruption.) Many government officials are on a low salary. While many government officials properly follow the rules, on the other hand official positions and privileges are sometimes exploited for selfish personal financial gain. If somebody in the public has a "problem", the solution is often just some money passed strategically to the right place, often a very small amount of money (by expat standards) but which is sufficient for a corrupt Thai official. Promotions are often based on loyalty rather than merit, and money talks.
The same problems exist in some private companies among some staff, too, in many fields of work.
This applies to many parts of the world (including Washington, D.C., of course, as regards greed!).
However, it is shamelessly accepted in some parts of Thai society, even proudly by some people who make the most of their privileged positions in government as well as in private companies to selfishly enrich themselves (and anybody "on their side" and in their groupthink).
Money can seriously corrupt ethics with some kinds of people.
Each of us can choose what kind of person we want to be in life. (Actually, many people don't think much about that, and don't really care much about a Greater Good or their own personal integrity.) Often, it is copying others who they observe in their group, as if that is normal.
The world has many different kinds of people, cultural memes, subcultures, and groupthinks.
Our company Director is an American who originally came to Thailand while working for the US government. Our laboratory is an American laboratory, which we vetted very carefully -- we have used a few different laboratories in the past, but only this one for the past 10+ years now. We have very carefully hired and trained our staff who conform and perform to international standards.
We want you to feel free to ask any questions of us.
We want to make sure you have peace of mind, don't lose sleep, don't waste time worrying or questioning the results for years, and can have complete confidence in the results. We are willing to go to extra efforts now, in order to assure you for the rest of your life that your DNA results are true and valid, once and for all.
First of all, as the company Director, I want to say that I am not a bad kind of person to take a bribe like that, to mislead somebody about paternity. Secondly, I choose employees carefully who are trustworthy kinds of people, both for the good of my own business and for our customers. Our two directors, one American and one Thai, have known all of our key employees personally for many years, in our DNA testing business.
We don't need the money. I have several good businesses. We are well known in Bangkok, with a reputation for integrity. We don't need to do bad things to people, and we don't want to do bad things. We want to live a good life, maintain a good conscience, and choose what business to do and what business to turn down.
We got into DNA testing from our private investigations business because paternity is a very important issue in life, so I wanted to take control of matters with exceptional care, not simply outsource. I have actually been handling DNA matters since the 1990s.
That is why we use the laboratory which we use, in the USA. We want to be sure of the results, too, not only against corruption, but also safeguards against human error -- samples mixed up, equipment failure, negligence covered up with an overconfident report instead of an admission and request to take DNA samples again, or plain carelessness of support.
For example, there are many cases of babies being accidentally mixed up in the hospital, given to the wrong parents. Indeed, my wife was not under anesthesia when she delivered her baby girl, but after the girl was taken away, they later brought a baby boy back to her, thinking that was her baby. Had she been anesthetized for delivery, how would she have known they were wrong? There are a lot of interesting anecdotal experiences on the internet about babies getting mixed up in hospitals, and probably countless cases where it happened but was never suspected, people living all their life not knowing nor suspecting.
It is much easier for a cheap laboratory to mix up swabs behind the scenes, since swabs look identical, than to mix up babies.
We've heard of people getting two different results from two different laboratories, for the same father-child duo tested.
Notably, a good laboratory should not make excuses (nor blame the customer), because a good laboratory can detect bad samples and reject them, requiring new samples to be provided. For example, if samples are contaminated by a third person, or two peoples' DNA are mixed up in one sample, then the laboratory readout normally detects this. (For example, take contamination. Let's say somebody secretly rubbed the alleged father's swab against the child's swab to try to fool the laboratory into thinking the child was the father's. This would fail because it would show more than 2 chromosome alleles at various loci, which is impossible, i.e., since they get only 1 from the mother and only 1 from the father.) A laboratory should not give a result unless it is clear. If not clear, then they should require new samples, even if it bites into their profit.
At some point, you have to assess the quality and experience of the laboratory.
I have done laboratory work myself, and have experience with many laboratories. Eventually, I chose to develop a relationship with one particular laboratory which gave me far more satisfactory answers to various questions, in expert detail, while passing my various tests.
Our laboratory has multiple certifications -- not only AABB (which is very basic and not difficult to get) but also many stringent laboratory quality and auditing certifications which safeguard against human error over time. Our laboratory has the most extensive certifications of any DNA testing laboratory we know. Our laboratory is one of the oldest in the world, was an early pioneer in DNA, and also now the biggest DNA testing laboratory in the world. Our laboratory is financially secure so does not cut corners. Its standard operating procedures are well established, as is its corporate culture. It is not easy to get some of these laboratory accreditations and certifications.
Even though our laboratory is in the United States of America, I do not trust all laboratories in the USA. I am American and I know the kinds of carelessness that goes on in some companies among some employees and even some directors behind the scenes. I have worked in laboratories before, as a scientist, and understand the kinds of mistakes which can be made by careless or sloppy staff. As a consultant to many companies since 1987, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, e.g., I also have consulted to companies who tried to clean up their processes in order to pursue ISO certification. I look behind the talk, and observe the actual walk.
Therefore, I carefully chose a proven laboratory which I trust, and I have gotten to know them well over time.
One unique thing about our laboratory -- and it is the only laboratory I know which does this -- is our laboratory requires submitted samples to be split into two independent teams whereby if the results are not the exact same then the test is deemed invalid and new samples need to be collected. This is NOT required by the AABB (and there are lots of other things not required by the AABB...). It also means they are willing to go to some extra cost in order to further assure accuracy against potential unknowns.
Regarding bribes, who there would risk their job to attempt tricking the system for just a relatively small amount of money provided by a Thai? Even if they wanted to, it would be too difficult to falsify results and beat the mature auditing system. Further, what Thai could deal with a laboratory on the other side of the planet?
It is an American laboratory, so the culture is not the same as in Thailand. There are crooks in every country and culture in the world, but there are significant differences in the cultural attitudes towards corruption in American vs. Thai society. In America it's shameful. In Thailand, it's often more accepted, and some officials are proud of their achievements in corruption. It is rumored that some officials buy promotions from higher-ups or engage in conspiracies of mutual self-enrichment. This is more prevalent in some cultures than others. Company culture and attitude of staff starts at the top with its leadership.
On the Thailand side, our company is headed by an American and we have an office in an office building in central Bangkok. You can verify our bona fides.
The laboratory report is created by the laboratory in the USA, not by us in Thailand. We could not change it even if we wanted to.
You can also come to our office and watch me log into the laboratory in the USA, pull up your results, and see that I have read-only access to reports. All I can do is submit information on a case before the samples arrive. I can no longer change anything once the samples arrive there, before laboratory testing starts. The results are in an entirely different section of the login system, read-only, and cannot be edited. The case disappears from the submissions section, and shows up only in the read-only results section. These results will match the PDF you received.
Our laboratory is not a P.O. box, nor is it a garage operation with just an impressive website, nor is it a struggling Johnny Come Lately or fly by night. Take a look at the laboratory photos on our home page. It is a big building with only "DNA Diagnostics Center" in big letters on the building, and see the photo of many staff.
This is an old and established laboratory which has handled over a million DNA samples.
The only way where something could go wrong to falsely mislead you that you are the father is if your samples are swapped with other samples before being sent, so that your samples are not sent, and other samples are sent instead with your name on them. You could find out by just sending your own sample to another lab without that of the child, just to see if your DNA profile came up with the same data for yourself, which is cheaper than sending in 2 or 3 samples plus paying for the comparison and % probability of paternity. If you just compare your own DNA profile between 2 labs, that confirms your sample was tested.
Some customers request that we go to their location, so that the Thai people do not know where our office is, nor who we are, so that they cannot come back to try to bribe us or threaten us. We are happy to go to your location, as noted in another section of this website, rather than require testing at our office. Occasionally, a customer has asked us to meet at a third location, e.g., a shopping mall, your office, etc., so both the Thai mother and our DNA collection staff don't know anything about each other, and only you know.
When we take samples from the field for a foreign man with a Thai mother or child, you can observe that our staff follow our protocols in speaking the minimum with the Thai people there, and we normally do not give the Thai people our business card or contact details. (However, the Thai people may already know this information because the foreign man gave the girlfriend our phone number for explanations of DNA testing or some other reason, so you may want to think in advance whether or not you want to take the risk of telling the Thai lady to talk with us, and can live with it later, before you do so. If she needs explanations in Thai in advance, then you can always call for her and make sure she never gets the phone number from your phone.)
If you want to go with us to immediately ship the samples to the USA, then you may. You can see the package submitted immediately and get the tracking number in order to track it yourself.
In the end, we want you to be comfortable and confident in the results, whereby we are "willing to go the extra mile" for you. It is a small extra effort for us for a short while, but gives you a huge benefit in confidence and peace of mind for the rest of your life.
Please let us know how you wish to proceed.
Sometimes the Thai people also want to know that we are legitimate and want to know who we are. If your Thai girlfriend/wife or her associates demand to know this, then it would be best to discuss with you in advance how to handle this. We can tell them that we are the sole Thailand representative for an American DNA laboratory (which is the truth, of course), but we don't need to tell them the name of the laboratory or enough information to clearly identify the laboratory or ourselves, if that's what you prefer. However, your assistance in handling such a situation would be appreciated.
Our laboratory, the DDC (DNA Diagnostics Center), has its own branded Thai language website on DNA testing which the Thai people can read, but as you can see it has our Thailand office telephone number on the top right, and our Bangkok address and information on the Contact page.
There are DNA brokers who just try to make a profit margin, and some may even have photos on their website which are misleading, to say the least. We are telling you how we really operate. We do not pretend to have our own laboratory in Bangkok. We have a close relationship with a top forensics and paternity testing laboratory in the USA. We carefully handle and track all DNA samples we collect, and minimize who in Thailand can access your samples.
On our laboratory reports, there is a number at the bottom of the page for % probability of paternity. I've seen laboratory reports which just say 99.999999% but don't show how they calculated that number. It looks like it could have just been made up. Ours is different. Each "locus" (location within your DNA) on our report has a "PI" (Paternity Index) number on it, which is a calculation based on how common or uncommon that part of your DNA is within the human population or your particular race. The numbers for all the loci are then multiplied to result in your probability of paternity, which is normally well over 99% but at least this shows you how that number is calculated. Because our laboratory is one of the very oldest, it has this kind of statistical DNA population distribution information because it has been collecting it for so many years, as one of the oldest laboratories, and the largest.
We've never had the laboratory reject a set of samples taken by our own DNA collection staff, but we've had several cases where the laboratory required a resampling from Do-It-Yourself mail-in people. We can mail a DNA collection kit to you whereby you can take your own samples, but if so, you need to follow the instructions carefully, and also keep an eye on the swabs to make sure nobody else tampers with them before they are received by us.
Many years of experience have led to refinement in our standard operating procedures. Also, our laboratory is very strict in following standard operating procedures.
First, I want to say that there are many other DNA testing companies which are also legitimate and do a good job in paternity testing. However, I have also seen apparently fraudulent ones, and I would guess there are many more. I don't like naming names publicly and normally don't get involved in other peoples' conflicts, and mainly want to say that people should carefully choose their DNA testing company before using them, not just after. For actual customers of ours, I give analysis and advice, but I still do not want to get involved in a conflict between a customer and a scammer unless it goes to the police or in court and they want my expert input for a very specific application.
We have done more than 1000 cases over 10+ years of paternity testing with the current laboratory (DDC), and some of the outcomes are worth noting in this section:
Child custody and court case
A husband and wife, the mother being Thai and the father foreign, had our staff take their samples and that of the child, with original IDs presented and a photo taken of them at time of testing as is normal for our test requirements for putting a full name onto a report. We found that the man was not the biological father. However, they stayed together as a family and eventually traveled overseas to the home country of the man.
Later, the man badly mistreated the mother and took the child away from her, and pushed her to leave the country (a long and traumatic story). The man presented a fake DNA report to officials in his home country, in order to try to get custody of the child. Upon request by the mother, we provided our DNA test report and a statement to the court, including our expert analysis of the other, obviously faked report which we received a copy of. This included us dealing with the country's embassy in Bangkok. The court also required a specific domestic laboratory in the other country to do another test, which confirmed he is not the biological father. The last I heard, the court ruled in the mother's favor and the man went to prison for awhile.
He had started a fight with the wrong person, linked to us, and furthermore had done fraudulent things himself which made him vulnerable to prosecution in return. (He had actually done many questionable things in the past but stayed low profile, which I guess might have made him complacent and overconfident in his ability to get away with this, but this was very offensive, which caused very serious trouble to himself, too, for a change.)
Mother delivered the DNA specimens
A lady walked into our office to drop off the DIY DNA specimens for a paternity test, and we found out that the lady is the mother of the child. (Of course, all our staff present were shocked that a man doing a paternity test would trust the mother like this.) We contacted the alleged father, who said he is a scientist himself, to tell him our worries, but he brushed off our concerns and said he trusts her for this, and to send the samples to the laboratory. Furthermore, the mother did not submit a sample.
At the laboratory, the DNA samples for the alleged father were determined to be from a female, not a male, which we reported to the alleged father. He went quiet after that. No DNA test report was issued for this case because it was considered fraudulent.
It is very rare that we do not issue a DNA Test Report, much less than 1%, but we take precautions, and if we see a serious issue, then we reserve the right to not issue a report. In this less than 1%, we offer to test again at no additional cost, but with more careful conditions.
Tampering with the package in the mail
The local Thai post office in our district alertly contacted us because they noticed that a package addressed to us appeared as if it had been opened after it was sent, and sent us a notice requesting that we go to this local post office branch to check the package to let them know whether or not anything was missing. (The package had come from another province far away, and it was a local post office which contacted us, commendably.) We looked at the package and yes, it looked like it had been tampered with. If the post office had not told us, we still would have suspected tampering of this package and contacted the alleged father. We took photos and contacted the alleged father to report everything, and he confronted the mother. The mother confessed that she had gone to the post office and retrieved the package which the alleged father had dropped off, opened it ..., and then given it back to the post office to be sent. (There is more to this story which I'd rather not post publicly...)
It is strongly recommended that you follow the directions in our kit, applying our company sticker to seal the DNA samples envelopes, and if you are concerned about potential tampering then put lots of tape around the samples envelopes, plus use our self-addressed mailing envelope which we have sent with the kit to return the samples, sealing it well so that tampering should be detected.
Further, to try to avoid any interference of any kind, including trying to ensure a package is not intercepted, it is recommended you go alone to a post office branch of your choosing, not your usual post office branch, without telling others where nor when, and at a time of your choosing such as late in the day shortly before the post office doors are closed and locked.
Faked DNA reports
We have seen faked DNA reports on multiple occasions. For example, sometimes a person has used us plus another entity to test twice, to check whether there might have been a faked report or some kind of error. Usually, the results are the same, but occasionally they have been different. When that happens, I tell them to go to a third entity. Then they can see themselves who is right and who is wrong. We have always been right, never the wrong one.
If you mailed your DNA samples to some entity overseas (such as based on a slick website) and later found out your result was wrong, then what are you going to do -- go to see them overseas, or try to prosecute overseas? After all that time and expense, would your evidence even stand up in court? Then, what would you get back for all your time, money, and efforts?
I would guess that most overseas mail-in places are honest, but I have observed that not all are, not even in North America.
It is better to deal with a local entity you can go face again, and pursue locally if they cheat you.
We do not comment publicly on specific scammers, nor do we get enraged and engaged in battles. They're not the only one ...
I also do not jump to conclusions about other DNA service providers themselves until I see clear and conclusive evidence, and I suggest others do the same, rather than just parrot hearsay. If it's important for a third party to resolve an issue, then it may be better to just contact the original DNA service provider directly and ask about the specific report, and maybe get their side of the story, too, if they are willing. Just contacting them can be quick and easy. Why spend time otherwise?
I normally would not want to say something bad about another particular company without knowing for sure, even in private. And even if I know for sure, I still normally wouldn't start a fight. The world has so many bad people ... and who has the time ... with so many potential complications in dealing with it all ... so it's just up to the client.
Many government officials say the same, of course.
I have done professional investigations not only as regards DNA evidence, but other kinds of investigations as well, and know many people in private and government investigative services. The number of scammers in Thailand and the world is very high, and who has time for it? The client must be willing to prosecute, and should not expect others to take the initiative. If the client wants to prosecute, then we can provide expert support, but we don't just get enraged and engaged in every little scam we see and hear of.
Occasionally, a client can get angry that other people are not willing to stop their professional lives and put their other pressing matters aside in order to do the client's own groundwork ... and haven't considered all the time, expense, and effort required.
A man came in with a government issued photo ID, but the person in the ID didn't quite look like him. After a short interrogation, he immediately confessed that it was not his ID.
You may have seen some clerical people or nightlife establishment door keepers who deal with a lot of IDs and who take an ID card or passport but don't compare the face of the person in the ID, and note only the text information. Be careful, and make sure your staff are careful.
We also take a photo of all participants at the time of testing, and this photo is normally used for official purposes when a government requires documentation of a DNA test.
Modified birth certificate
Participants of a test wanted their full names on the test. The problem was about the child, as the mother had brought in only a copy of the birth certificate, not the original, so we declined to put the full name of the child onto the birth certificate nor to provide full support, and withheld shipping the DNA samples until we saw the original birth certificate and made a copy of it ourselves. We must see originals and make our own copy, and do not accept just a photocopy. Later, when we eventually saw the original, we could see that the name of another man had been removed from the photocopy previously presented before. The baby's name was not faked, and the mother apparently just didn't want the man doing the test with her to know about the other man. However, it's an example of how people can modify a copy of an official document, and why we don't accept a photocopy but must see the original and make our own copy.
As noted elsewhere on this website, we allow a full name on a sample and DNA Test Report only if:
The reason we don't allow full names on samples and reports for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mailed in self collection should be obvious.
When participants try to use a DNA test for official purposes, the officials may contact us, as they have done many times, for authentication. We can provide photos of the participants at time of testing, among other things. We provide official support only in these circumstances detailed above whereby we take the samples and control them, properly identify all participants, and take photos of the participants at time of testing.
For DIY mail-in cases, we do not provide official support with third parties, and we provide only personal support between you and us. We are happy to issue our DNA Test Report to the participants and answer your questions and explain things, but we cannot guarantee anything to any third parties if we did not take your samples ourselves.
For cases where our staff collect samples in our office or out in the field, we use only our family members and trusted longtime close associates to do DNA collection and handling. We do not outsource to locals in another part of Thailand for just business purposes, such as to say that we have branches all over Thailand, and maximize our income. We are willing to send our staff to most anywhere in Thailand, in order to collect and secure DNA samples.
Hopefully, by reading the above, you may better understand our policies and the reasons behind our standard operating procedures.
If you have any questions about anything, or if something is bothering you, please feel free to ask or make a request.
Paternity is a very important issue, we can understand your situation and outlook, and we want to make sure that you are confident of the results for the rest of your life.
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