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2nd Apr, 2024

Victoria Sartain
Victoria Sartain
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

To combat the rising tide of hiring fraud across the UK, Reed Screening recently joined forces with the Better Hiring Institute and fraud prevention experts Cifas and ST Smith, to launch guidance for UK employers. This free, comprehensive eBook is now available to download and provides the latest insight into the gravity and scale of threat facing organisations today.

Complete with case studies highlighting common criminal activity, such as CV fraud and employment scams, the guidance offers solutions to counter these tech-based crimes, helping to protect your recruitment teams from falling victim to imposters and impersonators.

We spoke to Keith Rosser, Director of Group Risk & Reed Screening – Reed, about the new guide, Tackling hiring fraud: the UK’s response to a growing problem.

Keith Rosser

Q: How worried should employers be about hiring fraud – what are the worst-case scenarios?

A: Employers should be very worried about hiring fraud. At Reed Screening, we have made huge progress over the last few years in making UK hiring the fastest globally, including being referenced by UK government for our work on digital right to work. However, with the development of technology and improvements in the speed of hiring, we have seen an acceleration and amplification of fraud.

The worst-case scenario could be hiring a bad actor who defrauds the company for significant amounts of money leading to job layoffs and even worse. It could be organised criminal groups putting someone inside an organisation from where they can do significant harm through data theft or financial fraud.

Q: Are some organisations more at risk than others?

A: The risks are different. Financial institutions are clearly big targets for organised crime or even individual bad actors. But hiring fraud includes sex offenders getting work with the vulnerable through new ways of changing identity. Hiring fraud also includes unqualified people getting into roles by falsifying their claims on CVs, such as unqualified nurses let loose on wards.

Digital right to work has changed the way illegal working presents itself, meaning all companies are exposed to hiring fraud that involves illegal working.

Q: Are there statistics that illustrate the impact of hiring fraud in the UK, compared with pre-AI times?

A: Stats from Cifas’ Fraudscape 23 report include:

  • An 84% rise in false identities

  • Deepfake videos increasing at an annual rate of 900%

  • 10% of UK adults have lied about their degree qualification within a 12-month period, compared with 8% in 2021

A study by Forbes in 2023 also found that 70% of workers lie on their CV.

Q: The new guidance lists fraud across many areas. Can you highlight a few of the most effective tools and practices to detect/prevent them?

A: The two current greatest threats to employers are arguably ‘reference houses’ and artificial intelligence (AI). Reference houses are sophisticated, organised attempts at helping people deceive the hiring process. Over 100 reference houses were identified in 2023 alone. AI is already being abused by some jobseekers to fool interview processes or identity systems through deep fakes. For both it is essential employers have access to known databases of reference houses, use referencing providers with built-in technology to identify reference houses.

At Reed Screening, we typically flag a few reference houses a month using technology. With regards to AI, employers need to decide what their position is on its use by applicants. The most sensible approach is to allow it, as studies have shown its value in attracting Gen Z workers – but be sure to provide information and rules on how to use it correctly when hiring.

Reed Screening spoke alongside Lord Holmes, academics, legal professionals, and industry at a recent parliamentary briefing on AI in hiring, and we are soon to co-launch the first set of industry best practice on the subject.

Q: Of the different types of hiring fraud, which do you feel presents the biggest challenge for organisations?

A: While a number of areas such as the changing nature of immigration fraud, reference houses, and employment scams are rapidly on the rise and posing important questions to business, the single biggest issue is going to be the misuse of AI in hiring. It is already here with industry studies suggested seven-in-10 job applicants have already used AI in some way during their job search.

AI has a lot of exciting benefits and will create a lot of positive opportunities, but it can be misused too. How will companies in future ensure they are hiring the right people when ChatGPT can be employed with competency-based applications and interviews? AI-powered services are already in place tailoring en masse whatever jobseekers put on their CV to meet the requirements of multiple jobs, and deepfakes and associated technology are developing at a fast rate to impersonate people, driving identity fraud and fooling employers.

We are in the foothills about to start the climb, but the pace of change will be like nothing we have seen before. The only comparison I can draw would be the dawn of the internet. AI will be that impactful on hiring.

Q: How might overstretched businesses cope with the costs of implementing/updating safeguarding measures?

A: The challenge for employers is that hiring fraud and available technology to combat it are continuously evolving. Outsourcing is not only the easiest way to remedy this, it is usually the most cost-effective solution too. With many screening companies operating in the UK now owned by global firms, with less of a focus on the UK context, never has it been more important to choose a UK specialist developing the future policy, legislation, and systems needed in the UK to respond.

Q: What action should organisations take if they suspect fraudulent hiring activity?

A: The free guide, spearheaded by the Better Hiring Institute, ‘Tackling hiring fraud: the UK’s response to a growing problem’, and co-written by Reed Screening and Cifas, contains a useful checklist for human resources directors and chief people officers to ensure their organisation has all the right defences in place. In terms of reporting issues, it depends on the type and nature of the fraud. If the fraud has been perpetrated by a recruitment agency or job board, this can be reported to the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and at who work with UK government to deal with non-compliant recruitment agencies.

Depending on the severity of the fraud, organisations may well also need to inform insurers, external auditors, and the police. Where an organisation identifies an individual applicant who has committed hiring fraud, in most cases this person will be rejected from the role on the grounds of dishonesty.

Q: What should jobseekers do if they think they are being targeted by fraudsters?

A: The best source of free help and advice for jobseekers can be found at, a not-for-profit social enterprise backed by UK government. Jobseekers can also report specific issues to JobsAware and receive free advice. They should use job platforms in the Online Recruitment Scheme which is aligned to the Online Safety Act and supported by the prime minister’s anti-fraud champion. Protecting and repairing identity is also key for jobseekers who have been scammed. They can do this at

Q: How else can Reed Screening help employers?

A: Reed Screening is redefining employment screening. Having worked with the UK Home Office to develop digital right to work, we have since worked with various UK government departments to develop ways of making UK hiring the fastest in the world. Our work in parliament has led to a range of changes and will continue to do so. All of that means Reed Screening can advise hirers on what the future holds, not just on what current legislation says.

As a UK-based, 24-7, family-owned business, we lead on UK employment screening while also having the capability to conduct screening globally. We have recently built brand-new technology platforms with a real focus on speed and candidate journey. As one of the biggest hiring organisations in the UK, we understand the importance of hiring quickly and efficiently with a strong candidate focus.

Our various roles across industry and UK government mean we are setting the new standards for UK hiring including UK national hiring frameworks, setting the standard on hiring fraud, and setting the direction on AI in hiring. Reed Screening also chairs the Criminal Records Trade Body as well as running the largest series of free webinars for employers on all aspects of screening and onboarding.

Download the free guide now: Tackling hiring fraud: the UK’s response to a growing problem.