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CV fraud is a growing concern among recruiters, and a recent survey shows they have good reason to be concerned. One in five people, or twenty percent, either admit to lying themselves on their CV, or know someone who has lied about their qualifications on their CV in the past year. More shocking for employers, 40% of employees who suspect a colleague of CV fraud choose not to report it to HR, even when they have the option to do so anonymously. It also appears that lying on your CV is becoming more prevalent within younger age groups, with 38% of 16-24s admitting to either lying on their CV or knowing someone who has, compared with 30% in the 25-30 group. If you are thinking of applying for a job, or hiring a new employee for your business, should you be prepared for CV fact checking along with identity checking and chasing up references?

Why Commit CV Fraud?

In today’s competitive job market, it’s increasingly common for recruiters to demand degree-level qualifications, irrespective of the position. This can be seen by people who didn’t go to university as putting them at a disadvantage. The internet has made it very easy to fake qualifications and buy fraudulent certificates, which might at first glance appear entirely genuine. Employers risk taking on someone who is just not qualified for the role, and other genuine applicants face missing out.

CV Fraud and the Law

Lying on a CV is legally a grey area but can result in severe consequences if uncovered. There is a crime called “fraud by false misinterpretation,” which, in some cases, can carry a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. Writing a fake CV or stating qualifications which you don’t have isn’t a crime in itself, but getting a job on the back of your faked degree or A-levels might be.

Employers have the right to sack employees found to have lied on their CVs under gross misconduct rules. In certain sectors, such as healthcare and financial services, there may also be further action taken by the police or other professional bodies.

Identifying CV Fraud

Spotting CV fraud can be difficult, which is why many employers have started to use third-party screening companies to do it for them. CV checking involves spotting inconsistent or vague information, lack of detail, exaggerated achievements, employment history gaps, unverifiable claims, discrepancies between the CV and information given on the application form and other discrepancies. Calling or emailing universities or former stated employers often quickly uncovers the deception.

Preventing CV Fraud

As CV fraud is so common, job seekers should be prepared for a high level of scrutiny over their CV and application form. The most important piece of advice is the most straightforward – don’t be tempted to tell fibs or exaggerate on your CV.

Employers have started checking educational and professional qualifications as a matter of course for many employees and will not take any information at face value. For many employees, this can mean a longer than usual wait between getting a job offer and actually starting work.