Would you hire an accountant with a history of fraud or a chief executive who lied about their degree?
Unfortunately, these examples aren’t hypothetical scenarios crafted to scare you. These are real UK cases where background checks for employment (as part of a robust background screening programme) could’ve prevented loss and reputation damage. In fact, in August 2022, the UK Supreme Court ruled that misrepresenting yourself in your CV by inflating your university grades or changing previous job titles can be classed as “fraud by false misrepresentation” under the UK Fraud Act, which carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
Stephen Day, an accountant, financial consultant, and former executive, defrauded the National Health Service (NHS), private companies, and individuals out of more than £1.3 million. Day had a history of fraud, including embezzlement. Despite this, he managed to secure a position at the NHS by lying and presenting fake references. Once he was hired, Day continued to deceive his co-workers by presenting false financial reports and manipulating the organisation’s accounts for his own gain. Jon Andrewes, another senior healthcare executive, lied about his credentials by claiming to have a PhD and a master’s degree and misrepresenting his work history.
Even in less extreme cases, the lack of a proper background checks for employment can put your organisation at risk. Are you doing the right background screening to protect your organisation from CV fraud?
Background Checks for Employment
Businesses conduct background checks for employment, including criminal record checks and identity verification, to gather information about potential hires from sources other than the applicants themselves. Depending on the role, the type of background check may include verifying an applicant’s criminal record, motor vehicle offences, financial probity, and/or education and work history.
An employer’s background check process may also include reference checks to protect against CV fraud such as contacting the applicant’s former employers and educators to confirm employment history and assess the individual’s academic qualifications, knowledge, skills, abilities, and character.
CV Fraud: Background Checks to Protect You
As discussed above, background checks for employment are a way to verify someone’s identity and background. A background check can help ensure that the person is who they claim to be and can help uncover any criminal history and spot CV fraud.
In a workplace setting, background screening can keep you and your workforce safe by helping you make more informed decisions about who you hire. Here are three types of background checks for employment to add to your screening programme to lower risk and protect against CV fraud.
Education Background Check
Why should an employer verify an applicant’s education? It might shock you to find out that nearly half of UK employers have encountered a candidate who lied about their degree certificate.
Our own 2019 Credence background screening research uncovered that a quarter of the 55,000 CVs analysed contained inconsistencies, of which 15% of inconsistencies were related to a candidate’s reported academic achievements.
How do background check companies verify education?
An education background check is a process in which an employer, school, or other organisation verifies an individual’s educational qualifications like claimed degrees, certificates, and/or transcripts. Education background checks may be conducted using a variety of methods, including reviewing official transcripts and records from the educational institutions, contacting the institutions directly to verify the individual’s enrolment or graduation, and/or checking databases that maintain records of educational qualifications.
Whether it’s to stand out in a competitive job market or appear more experienced, applicants’ exaggerations or other CV fraud could put you at risk. Therefore, it’s integral that organisations in highly digitised industries such as financial services, IT, and telecommunications use background checks for employment and have the right background screening programs in place to stay compliant for regulation and professional certification purposes.
Global Watchlist Search
According to IBM’s The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, 83% of companies will experience a data breach at least once. The report goes on to add that data breaches cost companies $4.35M on average, and that the industry with the highest average data breach cost is healthcare at $10.10M.
Regardless of your company size, the financial loss, customer loss, public scrutiny, and damaged reputation can be devastating. Internal actors are involved in 30% of breaches, from mistakenly sending data to the wrong person or being a willing participant in a malicious attack, which is why background screening with a background check that screens global databases for worldwide sanctions, watchlists, and politically exposed people, and other details of criminality is essential.
Are you still not convinced your company needs background checks for employment? Certn, our parent company, documented in The Dangers of Not Doing Background Checks that in the US, employee theft is responsible for costing businesses $50 billion annually and a third of retail inventory shrinkage.
The UK has robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations that require certain types of organisations (e.g., credit and financial institutions, payment companies, electronic money institutions, money service businesses, tenancy agencies, casinos, etc.) to verify the identities of individuals and businesses. Thorough background checks can help reduce the risk of hiring employees who may engage in criminal activity or misconduct while working for your organisation.
Criminal Record Check
A criminal record check is one of the most commonly known types of background checks for employment. A criminal record check is a search of a person’s criminal history to determine whether they’ve been convicted of any crimes. This type of check is often conducted by employers and volunteer organisations that work with vulnerable populations, such as schools and healthcare facilities, to ensure that they’re not hiring or accepting individuals with a history of criminal activity.
The specific information that’s included in a criminal record check varies depending on the jurisdiction, but it may include details about arrests, charges, convictions, and sentences. We’ve documented answers to frequently asked questions about DBS / CRC criminal record checks.
Conducting in-depth criminal records searches of job candidates can be strong evidence that you’ve taken appropriate measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your employees and customers to demonstrate due diligence. (Pre-employment criminal record checks also demonstrate you’re complying with relevant regulations, like the UK Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] Fit and Proper test.)
Along with legal claims such as negligent hiring, criminal record checks can help prevent:
- Harm to other employees such as through sexual harassment or workplace violence;
- Harm to your organisation’s customers such as sexual assault on business premises;
- Harm to the public such as through negligent driving; and
- Financial loss or damage to your business brand and reputation.
Depending on your industry, an international criminal history check might be the best type of background check for your screening program. Click here to consult with one of our background screening experts.
Benefits of Background Checks
Conducting education background checks, global watchlist searches, and criminal record checks can help companies ensure they’re hiring individuals who are qualified, trustworthy, and fit to perform the duties of the position for which they’re being considered.
Education background checks can help companies verify the educational qualifications of job candidates and ensure that they meet the requirements for the position. This type of background check can be especially important for positions that require a certain level of education or specialised training.
Fraud watchlist checks can help companies identify individuals who have been identified as potentially fraudulent or deceptive in the past, which can be an important consideration when hiring employees who will be handling sensitive information or financial transactions.
Criminal record checks can help companies identify individuals who have a history of criminal activity, which can be relevant for positions that involve working with vulnerable populations, handling sensitive materials, or otherwise require a high level of trust. It’s not just a way to stay safe, it can also help employers prove they’ve done due diligence.
By conducting this screening as part of background checks for employment or on a continuous basis, companies can help protect themselves against hiring individuals who may not be suitable for the job and potentially put the company at risk.
Click here to request a quote for a customised background screening program from one of our experts.