Resume Fraud Gets Sophisticated; What You Need to Know

The combination of a sluggish job market and poorly protected databases is opening the door to a new, more sophisticated wave of resume fraud, with some candidates stooping to breaking the law to boost their chances with prospective employers.

Adding to the dishonest atmosphere is the uprising of websites that exist solely to provide job-seekers with false credentials, including college degrees and previous work experience.

"Candidates are allegedly breaking the law to get a particular job or promotion, and that is pretty much going to the full extent of the limit," Scott Pustizzi, vice president at The Human Equation, Florida-based human resources consultants, told Reuters.

Reuters reported last week that a 2003 survey by ADP Screening and Selection Services, which does background checks, discovered that more nearly 50 percent of the people whose claims they checked had lied on their resumes, which is up from about 40 percent over 2002.

Some resume transgressions count as lies, others can count as crimes, especially if a desperate candidate has hacked—or paid someone else to hack—into a university’s database to show the person has earned a degree when they have not. Some of the sites, such as fakedegrees.com let you choose the paper and insignia you wish to appear on your fake degree.

"In the past, people just lied," Charles Wardell, managing director at executive search firm Korn/Ferry International, told Reuters. "Now, what they are doing is they are hacking into a class of a university and putting their name on the class list."

The new scams are causing companies to ramp up their screening processes to ensure people are who they say they are, which makes the job harder for background search firms that are hired to vet candidates.

"A good liar understands that you have to have some basis and facts to pull off a scam," Lester Rosen, president of California-based Employment Screening Resources, told Reuters. "But it's even more dangerous when employers unknowingly hire a fraud, thief or a crook."

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