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CV fraud on the rise as UK job market cools

2 November 2022

1 in 5 people – nearly twenty percent of the UK population - have or know someone who has lied about a qualification on their CV in the last 12 months, up from 1 in 6 (17%) in 2021 according to research carried out by Cifas.

Leading fraud prevention service Cifas is warning of an upsurge in CV fraud, especially amongst those aged 16-24, of which 1 in 3 (or 38%) had either lied on their CV or knew someone who had. The 35-44 age group had the second highest percentage, with almost a third (30%) saying the same.

Making a fraudulent job application is illegal - regardless of whether someone is offered the job or not, and job seekers that are found to be doing could find themselves recorded on the Cifas Internal Fraud Database for six years. During this period, any job application could be searched against the database and potential employers made aware that the applicant had lied in previous job applications. At worst, they could also risk facing a prison sentence.

The research also revealed that 2 in 5 people who suspected a colleague of CV fraud would not report it to their HR department, even if they could do so anonymously. This marks an increase from 2021 when 1 in 3 people said the same.

Despite reports of a UK labour shortage, recent ONS stats show a fall in vacancies not seen since 2020. As the UK job market cools, competition for existing vacancies surges, increasing the likelihood of CV fraud. As candidates compete for fewer positions, qualifications, alongside relevant experience may take on more significance for employers.

Between July and September 2022, the estimated number of vacancies in the UK fell by 46,000 on the quarter to 1,246,000, the largest drop over a quarter since June to August 2020.

Cifas data also shows that in the first nine months of 2022, supplying false references rose by 476%.

Commenting on the findings, Cifas’ Insider Threat Manager, Tracey Carpenter, said:

‘Whilst it may seem like a harmless exaggeration, there are very serious consequences associated with CV fraud, which can open up a gateway to other types of offences including bribery and employee theft.

‘Employees who commit CV fraud can be vulnerable to blackmail or extortion from criminals eager to gain access to a company’s sensitive information in order to steal funds or commit further fraud. It also unfairly edges out those candidates who otherwise may have been more suited for the role.

‘Recent case law makes it clear that individuals who commit CV fraud can be taken to court and made to pay damages for unjust enrichment for the money earned through the employment period. They also run the risk of being added to the Internal Fraud Database, which can severely hinder their future employment prospects. It may be tempting to stretch the truth on a CV but it’s rarely worth it in the long run.’



The survey was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Cifas with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults between 26 August – 1 September 2022. The research outlined ten scenarios of an individual committing first-party fraud. For this scenario, respondents were asked as to whether they, or someone they know, has lied on a CV, whether they thought this was a reasonable thing to do, and whether they'd report a colleague they found out had lied on a CV.

About Cifas

Cifas is the UK’s fraud prevention service. We lead the fight against fraud by sharing data, intelligence and learning. The organisations that collaborate with us are drawn from all sectors, operating in both the public and private sectors working together to stop fraud. A full list of our members can be found on our website.

Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud.

Organisations that work with Cifas, contribute to and benefit from the UK’s largest databases of fraud risk data and intelligence.

About Opinion Matters

Opinion Matters is an independent market research agency that create bespoke market research solutions for businesses, organisations, and agencies worldwide. Opinion Matters abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

For more information, please contact:

Ione Gyamfi
Press and Public Relations Manager
(+44) 020 4551 7956

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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