October 22, 2015

How to Spot Identity Fraud

The cornerstone of any pre-employment vetting process is verifying the identity of the candidate in question. 

If you fail to do this part properly, the entire procedure becomes a castle built on sand. 

Here are three of the more common instances of identity fraud.

 1. Degrees 

It is alarmingly easy to obtain a false degree. Just search for “instant degrees” on the internet and you’ll be amazed at the number of websites offering you fast and ‘verifiable’ degree qualifications. 

Watch out for qualifications claiming to be from Manchester University. It should be the University of Manchester. And perhaps most infamous is the University of Warnswick. There is no such institution. 

 2. Utility Bills 

Many utility companies give customers the option to receive online statements only. While this is convenient for customers and kinder to the planet, it does open up opportunities for fraudsters. 

Things to look out for:

  • Check the maths – often the numbers in fraudulent documents don’t tally 
  • Fonts – they can be inconsistent and have a ‘cut and paste’ look
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Odd or large payments
  • Bills with no folds
If in doubt, call the utility supplier to check the document’s authenticity. 

 3. Passports 

Passports have a whole range of features to prevent fraudulent abuse.

This is a bit of double-edged sword as the person carrying out the authentication process has a plethora of checks to make. 

First off, you will need a magnifying glass and a UV light. 

Together they will help you check the integrity of the passport’s security features:

  • Hologram
  • Watermark
  • UV feature (everyone has one)
  • Micro print
  • Latent image

In addition, a careful examination has to be made between the passport photograph and the real, live candidate. 

Don’t be distracted by radical changes in hairstyle. Instead compare the size of the ears, nose and the shape of the eyes, lips, etc. 

 Ask the experts 

These are only three forms of identity fraud. And only some of the signs by which you can detect counterfeiting. As technology changes, fraudsters adapt and improve. It is a full-time job trying to keep up with them. 

Identity verification is only one element of a thorough and comprehensive candidate vetting process – but a hugely important one. The financial, cultural and reputational cost of hiring an employee who is not as they appear can be devastating. 

It is best left to the experts.

Jenny Smith, Divisional Manager, Core-Asset Verify




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