Rank recognizing organizations have various methods to send proof of rank before they recognize rank, but all methods of proof are subject to fraud and there is no economical way to verify all claims of rank. All it takes is one fraudulent rank certificate to start the process. That one fraudulent rank certificate is used to obtain rank or recognition from one organization, and then that organization’s certificate is used to apply for a certificate from another organization, etc. Using modern technology, such as scanners, crooked web sites, and Photoshop, realistic certificates may be made or obtained for practically any thing. People print cash on color copiers that fools banks. Fake paintings fool art experts. If experts in fraud can be fooled by documents, then martial art organizations can certainly be fooled by phony rank certificates—if they even care.
In my opinion, most rank recognizing organizations do not care if the rank proof is legitimate, they only exist to make money, and you make money by issuing 25 cent certificates and charging tens or hundreds of dollars. They offer nothing beneficial to the applicant other than the initial recognition and sometimes further recognition by having recognition banquets, halls of fame listings, etc. Recognizing organizations also tend to recognize and promote each other. This allows each to use the other as a reference in an attempt to show their legitimacy.
Legitimate rank issuing organizations, have member schools, instructors, and students and only issue rank to their members. They have written requirements that are strictly adhered to so as to maintain the integrity and legitimacy of the organization. Without strictly enforced, high standards of professional conduct, management, and rank certification that is generally recognized by everyone in the martial arts community, an organization may easily only exist on a computer hard drive in someone’s farm house.