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Job fraud

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Job fraud

Job fraud refers to fraudulent or deceptive activity or representation on the part of an employee or prospective employee toward an employer. It is not to be confused with employment fraud, where an employer scams job seekers or fails to pay wages for work performed. There are several types of job frauds that employees or potential employees commit against employers. While some may be illegal under jurisdictional laws, others do not violate law but may be held by the employer against the employee or applicant.

Résumé fraud

Résumé fraud or application fraud refers to any act that involves providing fictitious, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading information on a job application or résumé in hopes of persuading a potential employer to hire an applicant for a job for which they may be unqualified or less qualified than other applicants.[1] Depending on the nature of the offense, the type of job, and the jurisdiction where it occurs, such an act may or may not be a violation of criminal law. In any case, knowingly providing inaccurate information to an employer or potential employer, if discovered by the employer, is almost always grounds for immediate dismissal from the job or else denial of that job.


A number of annual reports, including BDO Hayward's Fraudtrack 4[2] and CIFAS,[3] the UK's fraud prevention service, has shown a rising level of major discrepancies and embellishments on curriculum vitae (CV) over previous years.

Recent research released by Powerchex has confirmed this trend. Having measured 3,876 applicants to the UK financial sector over the past year, they found that 17% of potential candidates embellished their CV, and found a trend between a graduate's choice of university and their likelihood to lie on their CV.[4][5]


Almost half (48%) of organizations with fewer than 100 staff experienced problems with vetted employees.

39% of UK organizations have experienced a situation where their vetting procedures have allowed an employee to be hired who was later found to have lied or misrepresented themselves in their application.[6]


Younger, more junior people are more likely to have a discrepancy on their CV. Someone in a junior administrative position is 23% more likely to have a discrepancy on their CV than in a managerial role. An applicant aged under 20 is 26% more likely to have a discrepancy than a 51–60 year old.[7]

Women are marginally more likely to have a discrepancy on their CV: 13% of applications submitted by women have a discrepancy compared to only 10% of those for men.[8]

Graduates have marginally fewer discrepancies: 13% of their CVs contain a discrepancy compared to 17% of non-graduates.


  • Fake credentials:  Some applicants provide false documents that are required or strongly recommended to obtain a job. These may include a degree, license, certificate, or other evidence of necessary training or experience that is expected of applicants.
  • Fictitious former employer(s):  The applicant provides a list of previous employers that they never worked for, and that may have never existed. They may include fake reference letters that vouch for the applicant. Absence of contact information may seem plausible if the applicant claims they are no longer in business, living far away, or otherwise out of touch.
  • Fake "live" employer(s):  The applicant arranges with a relative or friend to pose as a former boss. The applicant provides a phone number or other contact information, and when the prospective employer contacts this person, they receive a glowing report about the applicant. Since the widespread use of email, this form of communication may also be used by the applicants themselves to pose as former employers.
  • Exaggerated claims:  The applicant lists a genuine former employer, but leaves out information with the intent to mislead. The employer may have a prestigious reputation, but the applicant's position may have been menial.

Examples of résumé fraud

  • The applicant gets past the "20 second resume cull" by making bold statements such as "1st place Academic Standing: Session 1, 2005 and Session 2, 2004", and only later qualifying it as being "First place academic standing amongst Information Systems and Management (ISM) scholars"
  • The applicant makes exaggerated or untrue claims, such as having won prizes or other recognition. Similarly, an applicant may claim a scholarship was "for the most outstanding student entering the University" when in fact multiple scholarships were awarded.
  • The applicant refers to unknown, unverifiable awards, such as a "Silver Medallion for Academic Excellence.", or an "Emeritus Professor Prize".
  • The applicant selectively reports, and uses unofficial terms: rather than reporting an overall grade of credit, reports a "Distinction Average in Finance; High Credit Average in Law."; similarly, a "Distinction average on all core information systems subjects" helps circumvent unflattering grades in information systems electives and other courses. Both "High Credit" and "core information systems subjects" are not defined by the university, and thus are used with impunity.

Fraud by active employees

There are other forms of fraudulent methods that employees of jobs use to obtain payroll money from an employer without actually performing any work. These involve blatant cheating, and do not include those who perform at a sub par level.

These include:

  • Swiping in absence:  The employee arrives at the job site at the beginning of the shift and swipes in to report to work. The employee promptly departs, and the absence goes unnoticed in a large workplace. At the end of the shift, the employee returns to swipe out.
  • False signature:  The employee who is supposed to obtain a supervisor's signature to verify having worked signs the form themselves after skipping work. Such acts are usually possible with temp agencies, where contractors are sent to a variety of job sites, and are not known personally by those they would work with.
  • Training pay:  An applicant obtains a job that will include a fixed amount of paid training. Once the training is finished, the applicant promptly quits. The applicant's original purpose was to obtain pay for training, but not do any further work. Many employers who function this way combat this problem by withholding payment for training until a certain amount of work has been performed.

Depending on the nature of the offense, these violations may be grounds for criminal prosecution and/or civil proceedings.


  1. ^ "Combat Resume Fraud". Inquest Pre Employment Screening. Archived from the original on 2007-03-02. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  2. ^ Fraudtrack 4
  3. ^ CIFAS - The Enemy Within
  4. ^ Powerchex Annual Survey 2008
  5. ^ A Degree of Creativity on CVs
  6. ^ Powerchex Annual Pre-employment Survey
  7. ^ dofonline
  8. ^ OnRec

Further reading

  • McConnell, Charles R. (2004-09-28). "Watching Out for Resume Fraud". National Federation of Independent Business. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
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