Safer Hiring: How Hiring Fraud Can Impact your Organisation

Safer Hiring: How Hiring Fraud Can Impact your Organisation

Deceptive and fraudulent recruitment practices are an ongoing problem, with increasing numbers of fraudsters taking advantage of online channels to target jobseekers.

In January, the APPG for Modernising Hiring held a discussion to address the problems that this practice causes for legitimate employers, and how changes in government as well as in recruitment processes can protect both employers and work seekers.

The facts around recruitment fraud include:

- Job seekers aged between 18 and 24 are most likely to be targeted.

- 30% of UK adults have experienced employment fraud when searching online

- Victims lose around £4,000 on average.

- 74% of work seekers have applied for at least 1 job that never existed

- 4.5 million people in the UK have been a victim of identity fraud

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the job market has changed considerably, with some skills becoming highly sought-after, while other positions were being made redundant. Therefore, we’re seeing a lot of people looking for work, with more than two-thirds searching solely online, including on social media.

Types of Hiring Fraud

Identity Theft

Fraudulent employers engaging in identity theft represent a malicious facet of hiring fraud, posing significant risks to unsuspecting job seekers. In these instances, fraudsters seek to extract personal data from applicants, including their name, address, date of birth, bank details, phone number, and family information. The goal is often to sell this sensitive information to serious organised crime gangs for illicit purposes. To obtain a work seeker's data, these fraudulent employers may employ elaborate tactics, including setting up and orchestrating a multi-level, long-term interview process that includes telephone, virtual, and in-person stages. Once the applicant has sent their ID details, the fraudulent employer may suddenly disappear, leaving the victim vulnerable to identity theft and potential financial harm. Unfortunately, this kind of fraud is not always prioritised for investigation by law enforcement, emphasising the importance of awareness, vigilance, and the role of organisations like UKIFA in providing assistance and guidance to victims of such scams.

Money-Making Scams

Money-making scams present a growing threat within hiring, preying on the vulnerabilities and aspirations of job seekers. In these deceptive schemes, fake employers and fraudulent job adverts are designed with the sole purpose of swindling individuals out of money. Common features of these fake employments often include enticing claims that promise substantial earnings with minimal time and effort. Fraudsters adopt various tricks to extract money from unsuspecting applicants, such as demanding advance fees to cover fabricated expenses like police checks or CV security, only to disappear once the funds are provided. Another tactic involves offering telephone interviews conducted on premium rate phone lines, engineered to last a considerable length of time, thereby generating substantial charges for the victim.

Money Laundering

In cases of fraudulent money-laundering employment, victims are offered seemingly legitimate work-from-home positions, but in reality, they are being used as conduits to launder illegally gained money for criminal enterprises. Positions involving buying and selling IT hardware or transferring money between different accounts may seem genuine, but victims find themselves unwittingly participating in illegal activities. In some cases, victims are asked to conduct interviews to recruit more people for similar roles, deepening their involvement in the fraudulent schemes. Unfortunately, these individuals often end up not being paid for their work, having given money for training, equipment, or goods under the false promise of reimbursement.

How to reduce the impact of hiring fraud

The prevalence of fraudulent employers and deceptive job practices is compelling legitimate employers to adapt their approaches to instil trust and confidence in applicants and candidates. In response to the pervasive scams that plague the job market, reputable organisations are implementing a series of measures aimed at assuring job seekers of their trustworthiness and authenticity.

Enhanced Transparency

Legitimate employers are prioritising transparency throughout the hiring process, offering clear and detailed information about the company, job requirements, and the recruitment journey. By fostering open communication, these employers aim to build trust and reassure candidates that the opportunities they present are genuine.

Thorough Vetting Processes

To distinguish themselves from fraudulent counterparts, organisations are adopting more rigorous vetting processes. This includes comprehensive background checks, reference verifications, and the use of advanced technology for identity verification. These measures are designed to ensure the legitimacy of candidates and provide a secure recruitment environment.

Clear Communication Channels

Establishing clear communication channels and providing official points of contact is crucial to preventing confusion and potential scams. Legitimate employers emphasise the use of official company email addresses, websites, and phone numbers to combat phishing attempts and maintain a secure communication environment.

Education and Awareness

Proactive efforts to educate job seekers about common hiring scams and red flags are becoming a staple in the hiring practices of legitimate employers. Informational materials on company websites, during the application process, and targeted outreach initiatives serve to empower candidates and minimise the risk of falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

Utilising Trusted Platforms

Employers are increasingly opting for reputable job platforms and career websites to host their job postings. Clear identification on recognised platforms adds an extra layer of security for candidates, fostering a sense of trust in their job search.

Prompt Response and Feedback

Providing timely responses and constructive feedback to candidates has become a hallmark of legitimate employers. Clear and prompt communication sets them apart from fraudulent entities known for evasive behaviour, reinforcing the authenticity of the hiring process.


Building a Positive Employer Brand

Investment in building a positive employer brand is on the rise. Organisations are showcasing their commitment to ethical hiring practices through employee testimonials, highlighting workplace values, and participating in industry best practices. This not only attracts top talent but also reinforces the reputation of the company as a trustworthy employer.

The existence of fraudulent employers has prompted legitimate organisations to take proactive steps, establishing trust, implementing robust security measures, and fostering a positive candidate experience. By doing so, these employers not only protect job seekers from potential scams but also enhance their own reputation as ethical and transparent contributors to the job market.

Stay protected with Reed Screening

To ensure your business protects its employees, reputation, and business performance when working against dishonest candidates or fraudulent employers, robust screening and secure processes are key.

Pre-employment screening can help you minimise the risk, both in terms of legal liability and in terms of lost productivity and performance from an unsuitable hire. At Reed Screening we specialise in providing fast, accurate screening services that give you the confidence that your employees can be trusted, allowing you to get on with growing your business.

To find out more, get in touch today.