New-hire identity fraud: Experts share ways to safeguard during remote hiring

The rise of virtual hiring has brought both opportunities and challenges. On the upside, virtual hiring is deeply inclusive, opening up global talent pools including those living in refugee circumstances. On the downside, teams could face a challenge with identity fraud if they don’t have safeguards in place. 

“Employment fraud was ranked the second riskiest scam in Canada in 2022, resulting in a loss of $7 million, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. And with advances in AI technologies, I think it’s likely to get even more sophisticated,” said Kathyrin Tremblay, CEO and Co-Founder of Altis Recruitment & Technology.

As organizations increasingly embrace remote hiring, some have grappled with instances where the individual who shows up for the job differs from the one who interviewed. To better understand this issue, we welcomed two expert speakers at our recent Tech Talent Welcome Council meeting, Jehan Jamaluddin, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Giatec, and Susy Martins, Founder & CEO of Advise2Rise.

Jehan shared three eye-opening examples of new-hire identity fraud. Two of them were a method called “Bait and Switch”. In these instances, candidates who were different from the individuals interviewed would show up for work, leaving the organization in a compromised situation. A third case involved fraudulent employment information. 

In response to these incidents, Giatec took proactive measures to enhance their recruitment process, including:

  • Transitioned from phone interviews to video interviews, which provide a more reliable means of verifying a candidate’s identity.
  • Enhanced background screening, including criminal, employment, and educational verification.
  • Conducted independent research on candidates via platforms like LinkedIn and GitHub.
  • Actively watched for red flags, such as resistance to background screening, typos in official documents, or refusal to participate in video interviews.

Susy, the CEO of Advise2Rise, initially perceived new-hire identity fraud as a cybercrime issue. However, she soon realized that this was a more widespread problem that extended beyond the tech industry. When she reached out to her professional network, she discovered that others had encountered similar challenges.

Susy emphasized the importance of video interviews and having a photo on file to compare appearances. She encouraged consulting experts in the field of identity verification and fraud prevention and highlighted that this issue affects not only large corporations but also small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which may lack the resources to detect patterns in fraudulent hiring. Another strategy is working with trusted recruitment partners like TalentLift that build in safeguards to virtual recruitment.

TalentLift has a unique mission to support talented folks living in refugee circumstances globally. We have a few closer degrees of connection to candidates through our employment-readiness services, and often through local partners who work closely with candidates including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In addition, TalentLift has an identity verification mechanism available to interviewers on our employer portal. It enables interviewers to compare visuals of their video interview with photo ID for additional security. 

Both speakers emphasized the importance of reporting incidents: If you encounter new-hire identity fraud, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Also, you can see what’s trending in the background check industry from the ISB website.

We would like to thank Jehan and Susy and the whole Tech Talent Welcome Council community for their contributions to this important topic. If you’re interested in being part of this community of peers who are piloting and embedding recruitment from within refugee populations in their talent strategy, please follow our Tech Talent Welcome Council page on LinkedIn. 

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.