Employment fraud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Employment fraud is an attempt to defraud people who are seeking or performing employment by giving them a false hope of better employment, often with higher wages. Employment fraud involves activities such as fraudulent representation of income to a borrower who claims self-employment in a non-existent company or who claims a higher position such as that of a manager in a real company. It also includes promises such as easy hire, easy work, high wages for unskilled labor, flexible hours, and a small number of hours paired with a lot of free time.[1]


Recruitment fraud involves persons misrepresenting themselves as acting on behalf of an employer to offer fictitious job opportunities. The fraud is generally conducted through the internet, such as through false and illegal "copy-cat" websites or through unsolicited emails claiming to be from the employer.

Identifying fraudulent and fictitious job offers[edit]

The perpetrators will usually ask recipients to complete recruitment documentation, such as job application forms, terms and conditions of employment or visa forms. The company name and/or logo may be included (without authority) on the documentation. There are usually various requests for personal information, such as address details, date of birth, CV, passport details, bank details. Candidates are requested to contact other companies/individuals such as lawyers, bank officials, travel agencies, courier companies, visa/immigration processing agencies etc. Email correspondence is often sent from (or responses requested to) free web-based e-mail accounts such as yahoo.com, yahoo.co.uk, gmail.com, hotmail.com, hotmail.co.uk, or live.com. The perpetrators frequently use mobile or platform telephone numbers beginning with +44(0)70 instead of official telephone numbers from the company they are pretending to represent. The perpetrators ask the candidate to make certain payments to progress the job application, for example, in respect of work permits, visas, and travel arrangements. Genuine employers do not request money transfers or payments from applicants to secure a job, either as an employee or as a contractor.[2]

Types of fraud[edit]

One type of employment fraud happens when a contractor is hired for a duration, verbally promised additional compensation, and then has the compensation and the evidence denied for the purposes of terminating the contract with the contractor.

Examples of fraud[edit]

  • Stealing money from the company bank account – the perpetrator having got away with this once, will try it again and again.
  • Manipulating sales figures so as to reach target and achieve bonus – a simple version of this involves booking sales in one month then crediting them back the next. Naturally, unless the perpetrator keeps this up, the overstatement in one month will be shown as a shortfall in the next.
  • Theft of stock – a time-honored way to make a 'fast buck'. The perpetrator will over a period of time abscond with a number of items from the warehouse, and resell these. So long as the stock losses are within tolerance then it is possible for this to remain undetected for a significant period of time.[3]
  • Another type of employment fraud is when a criminal creates a form of false advertising. Any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities which lures unsuspecting victims into a situation where, out of desperation or lack of knowledge, they are tricked into committing a crime or become a victim of a crime such as identity theft, embezzlement or similar types of fraud.[4]

Types of employment scam[edit]

Mystery shopper[edit]

The victim applies to be a mystery shopper. They are asked to test a money wiring service such as Western Union, and to report back on the experience. In reality, they are helping to launder money and could be open to charges of being a money mule.

Payment administration[edit]

The victim is asked to handle payments on behalf of an overseas company, earning a fee for every payment handled. the companies turn out to be a front for illegal activity – again potentially landing the victim in trouble with the law.

Guaranteed employment/income scams[edit]

The victim is guaranteed a certain level of income or employment. To get this they first have to buy something like a business plan, start-up materials or software. They may also be asked to pay money to be put on a directory to 'guarantee' jobs. This is in fact merely a way to get the victim to spend money – there is no job waiting at the end.

Another form of this is that a seemingly legitimate business (maybe you know they've been in business for years) will interview you and ask far more complicated questions than could be answered by the prospective employee who is ultimately hired (they can't afford to hire someone who knows the answers but they ask you in the interview thinking you won't know the answer, often used on younger people).

At the end of the interview the employer will express an interest in hiring you and call you back for a second interview in a couple of weeks (and obviously they interview other people in the mean time). If you have questions about the wages or conditions of employment they may bring up your inability to answer some of the questions and attempt to leverage you (open your mouth again and the time and effort invested are gone, they have a stack of resumes - which obviously you don't get to compare with your own).

Perhaps they will be convinced and hire you on the spot, mentioning that you were unable to answer some of the questions; thus even IF you knew how much was on the table you would be started at a "Training Wage" which would increase after the "training".

Ultimately the Employer neither wanted someone who could do all that they asked nor would the "training" be any more than telling you what they want you to do (non-transferable skills, worth nothing elsewhere). They may even rewrite the whole interview conversation and try to add a bunch of unexpected tasks. When payday comes (first two weeks held) there might be some mixup in what amount was agreed to, this 'mistake' doesn't result in you receiving a higher wage; it's your word against theirs (and they get the benefit of the doubt IF you have no proof - like all the Terms and Conditions in writing before you start.

They can pile it on until you quit since they hired a few others as well (despite not having money for wages) and they only had a few weeks work in any event so you were charitable in how much you ask for, thinking you are "hired" but really you are on your way out. You could have asked for a lot more if you knew they were desperate to get a few weeks work done. Lucky you, since years of working there would leave your resume with a big hole in it and no means to advance your original career path.

A combination of belittlement and bait and switch. Unless you're 'the best' then they might keep you and exploit you further.

A real job and an honest employer is never unorganized or shifty. By backing off on some of the above scams and not pulling every trick many prospective young employees would not even suspect it was a scam (and when that 'unexpected' turn of events causes them to lay you off you will be awaiting their next call in a few weeks). You are hooked and reeled in by the expert Fisherman (employer fishing for exploitable people rather than particularly skillful ones).

Multi-level marketing[edit]

People selling through a multi-level marketing scheme get commission on the sales of those they recruit, as well as on their own sales. Some multi-level marketing schemes, like selling Tupperware, are legitimate business models. But some multi-level marketing schemes are pyramid schemes in disguise. The products are of poor quality, overpriced and hard to sell, or the victim may be asked to spend a great deal of money on training materials that are completely useless.

Visa/work permits[edit]

A prospective employer overseas says that they'll handle the victim's work visa application. But the victim has to send them the money to process it. Again, this will simply result in the scammer taking the money and vanishing.[5]

How to resolve the issue[edit]

If employment fraud is suspected, one should seek legal advice immediately. Whilst the main aim will be to obtain evidence that will stand up in court, one should proceed with caution. There is a risk of being taken to an employment tribunal should one's suspicions prove incorrect or should one act in a way that breaches an employee's employment law rights. In addition, the way one gathers evidence or checks personal data on employees must comply with the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act. Employers should always carry out a full identity check on any new employee.[6]

Employment trends[edit]

Crime and fraud issues in international trade[edit]

Theft of goods, money laundering, cyber crime, employee fraud, infringement of intellectual property. Businesses in international trade face a growing threat from crime. Fraud is deceit for financial profit and has cost the UK economy more than £38 billion in the past year (source: National Fraud Authority – annual fraud indicators January 2011). Currently the main threat to international traders is fraud from organised crime, including theft of your goods or your business identity, cross-border crime and road-freight crime. Other risks include infringement of intellectual property or employee fraud.[7] The rise in online trading has created new forms of criminal activity, such as new ways of laundering money. Businesses in the EU can rely on shared laws and commercial procedures to protect them. This action-based guide explains the key risks involved, how to reduce them, and what to do if their business is targeted.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In-text: (Definitions.uslegal.com, 2014) Bibliography: Definitions.uslegal.com, (2014). Employment Fraud Law & Legal Definition. [online] Available at: http://definitions.uslegal.com/e/employment-fraud/ [Accessed 29 Oct. 2014].
  2. ^ Lundin-petroleum.com, (2014). Employment Fraud - Lundin Petroleum. [online] Available at: http://www.lundin-petroleum.com/eng/recruitment_fraud.php [Accessed 29 Oct. 2014].
  3. ^ Frost, K. (2012). Top ten types of fraud. [online] Metro. Available at: http://metro.co.uk/2012/10/09/top-ten-types-fraud-3817034/ [Accessed 29 Oct. 2014].
  4. ^ TheFreeDictionary.com, (2014). False Advertising. [online] Available at: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/False+Advertising [Accessed 31 Oct. 2014].
  5. ^ Cps.gov.uk, (2014). Fraud Act: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service. [online] Available at: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/fraud_act/ [Accessed 28 Oct. 2014].
  6. ^ Nelsonslaw.co.uk, (2014). Employee Fraud: Warning SignsSolicitors: Nottingham, Leicester and Derby UK. [online] Available at: http://www.nelsonslaw.co.uk/site/library/commercialclient/employee_fraud.html [Accessed 29 Oct. 2014].
  7. ^ Gov.uk, (2014). Investigations and enforcement: what we do, our outcomes and complaints - GOV.UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/insolvency-service-investigations-and-enforcement-what-we-do-our-outcomes-and-complaints [Accessed 29 Oct. 2014].
  8. ^ Gov.uk, (2012). Crime and fraud prevention for businesses in international trade - Detailed guidance - GOV.UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/crime-and-fraud-prevention-for-businesses-in-international-trade [Accessed 29 Oct. 2014].