The risks of recruitment fraud

The risks of recruitment fraud

Instances of fraud in recruitment have peaked recently, putting many candidates and employers at risk.

There are two types of recruitment fraud:

  • committed by someone in the role of employer offering fake jobs to people in order to exploit them for their money and personal data including ID and financial information
  • committed by candidates in the form of lying on their application, presenting fake ID documents, or claiming fake qualifications (also known as candidate fraud).

Both forms of recruitment fraud pose significant risks for employers and candidates alike. It’s therefore important to equip your organisation with the right measures and processes to ensure recruitment is a smooth, beneficial, and legal process for all parties.

Fraud by employers

When nationwide lockdowns were announced in 2020, recruiters quickly needed to find ways to fill positions remotely and online. This opened up new channels for fraudsters to exploit unwary jobseekers for their money and personal data.

While online and remote recruitment is no longer the only way to fill positions, the widespread use of online recruitment channels has remained, meaning the increased risk of recruitment fraud has too.

Additionally, with the current Cost of Living crisis and rocketing inflation, many people are looking for extra work to help cover rising costs. People who are desperate for work are less likely to think as deeply about the legitimacy of a job offer, being relieved to have secured a position.

How it happens

Often, candidates are offered a job and asked for copies of their ID documents, qualifications and financial data. Sometimes they are asked for money under the guise of needing to fund certain screening processes, like police checks. Once the data and money has been sent, the candidate loses all contact, and their personal information is sold by the fraudsters.

Risks to genuine recruiters

With the rise in scam job offers, candidates are likely to be, quite rightly, more wary and questioning of recruitment processes that are carried out wholly online. This means that it’s important to ensure you have robust measures in place to keep your candidates’ and employees’ data secure, provide peace of mind to applicants and new recruits, and protect your employer branding and reputation.

As of the 30th September 2022, online ID verification to prove an employee’s right to work can no longer be carried out in lieu of a face to face meeting unless employers use an IDVT (Identification Verification Technology) provider. This means that when recruiting remotely, any sensitive identity data is handled completely by a UKAS certified third party, ensuring your candidate’s personal information is secure. Using a certified IDVT provider signals to candidates that not only is your company genuine and sets it apart from fraudulent employers, it also boosts your employer reputation by highlighting how seriously you take the security of your employees’ data.

Fraud by candidates

While the existence of fraudulent employers threatens the reputation of well-meaning organisations, candidates committing fraud can have a more serious impact on a business.

ID Fraud

ID fraud, involving the use fake or forged documents when proving the right to work, can have serious repercussions on the employer if they are unable to provide sufficient evidence that they have taken reasonable steps to mitigate risk. Employers who know or have reasonable cause to believe that an employee does not have the right to work in the UK face imprisonment of up to five years and an unlimited fine.

Again, IDVT can minimise the risk of accepting fake documentation, however it’s important to note that only candidates with a valid, in-date British or Irish passport can use IDVT. For those without, employers need to offer a face-to-face meeting in which a member of staff can check physical ID documents for signs of forgery or a postal route.

Employers can protect themselves by ensuring staff members are trained in spotting fake documents and by keeping thorough and accurate records.

Qualification Fraud

When a candidate lies about the grades they achieved, the institution they attended, or even the fact that they have any training whatsoever, it means you may be recruiting someone who isn’t as well suited to the job as you thought. Particularly damaging for businesses recruiting for professional positions in regulated industries, qualification fraud can not only put a business at risk, but in certain professions the livelihoods, safety, and health of your employees, customers, and clients.

In order to protect your business from the risks of facing regulatory noncompliance, reputational damage, and liability for malpractice, it’s important to include a robust qualification verification process.

Our top tips include:

  • Don’t trust a certificate – certificate forgery is widespread and can be very convincing. Always go deeper and carry out further checks.
  • Check the validity of the institution to ensure it’s not a diploma mill or a bogus university.
  • Contact the student records department of the candidate’s training provider with the correct fields of information and a consent form from the candidate. They can then access their database and respond to you in a fully auditable way, so that if there's any query over the validity of that verification, you know you've got a full audit trail.

There are also other tools that can be used instead of going directly to the institution. For example, HEDD in the UK, Student Clearinghouse in the USA, Duo in the Netherlands, Europass in the EU, and other institutes across the world carry out qualification verification checks to ensure that certificates are genuine, and that institutions are providing the training they claim.

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.