Written by Sophie Keen, Staff Fraud Recruitment Manager – CIFAS – The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service
Since the last HireRight blog post written by Arjun Medhi, employment application frauds reported to the CIFAS Staff Fraud Database have continued to rise. An employment application fraud is categorised by CIFAS as when a job applicant has knowingly provided false information or false supporting documents or has concealed information relevant to his or her application. These concealments or falsehoods must be sufficient to
affect the offer of a position to the applicant and would constitute offences under the Fraud Act 2006.
Employment application frauds have continued to be the number one reason for organisations to record cases of fraud to the CIFAS Staff Fraud Database throughout 2013. It now makes up a massive 52% of all cases filed to the database compared with 38% in 2012. Since 2007, this has been the first year that CIFAS has seen fraudulent employment applications making up the highest proportion of cases recorded. Beforethis year, dishonest action by staff to obtain a benefit by theft or deception consistently made up the highest proportion of cases. Such cases cover activities such as theft of cash and false expenses. While these have been seen to decrease slightly in number, the change in proportions appears to relate more to the sudden increase in employment application frauds throughout 2013 than the decrease in any of the other fraud types recorded to CIFAS.
When looking more closely into the reasons for these applications being fraudulent, the overwhelming factor is the concealment of an adverse credit history. In September alone there where 50 of these cases recorded with CIFAS, making up just over 90% of all the fraudulent employment applications that month. This high proportion of concealing adverse credit has been consistent throughout 2013 and peaked in September. With recruitment being reported to be on the rise again for the first time since the credit crunch, this is a worrying sign for organisations across all sectors. By making sure that the correct vetting processes are in place, organisations can minimise risk by making sure that they are employing the best person for the position – one who is both trustworthy and competent.
A ‘positive’ aspect of the high number of fraudulent employment applications being recorded with CIFAS is that the vast majority are being discovered prior to the commencement of employment. By making the necessary credit checks and investigations into the application, these cases are being picked up at the earliest opportunity. Applicants should therefore make sure they are completely honest in their application, as even if their purpose is not to commit further frauds once in employment, this is not a risk employers are generally willing to take.
In contrast, when looking at the employment applications that were found to be fraudulent only after the commencement of employment, there have been no such cases recorded during 2013. This is likely to reflect the fact that most employers are able to make the necessary credit checks beforehand. However, what has also been seen throughout 2013 is that employment application frauds that did lead to employment have consistently included the concealment of employment history. While it is understandable that organisations often need to employ people before completing the vetting process, the presence of these cases recorded to CIFAS sends the strong message that fraud checks do still need to be completed even after employment has started.
For an organisation to be able to grow and progress, it goes without saying that it is important to have the best possible people working within it. Organisations therefore need to have the correct vetting processes in place to reduce the high risks associated with having employees who are prepared even at application stage to be less than honest.