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How to Spot Common Tactics Used by Fraudulent IT Candidates

Imagine greeting your new IT hire on their first day in the office. Instead of being thrilled to welcome them to the team, you have a sneaking suspicion that something isn’t right just a few moments after meeting them at the door. They don’t look the same as you remember when you interviewed them remotely — didn’t he wear glasses and have dark hair? — and they don’t remember and can’t answer questions you discussed extensively during the interview.  

A few days later, you hear from their team leader that they lack many of the basic coding skills for the job, and when they do produce work, it takes significantly longer than it should, almost as if they are getting outside help. 

Unfortunately, situations like these are not uncommon as we wrote in the first entry in this series, “The Challenge of Identifying Fraudulent IT Candidates.” Fake IT candidates draw on various tactics that should be on the radar of every HR professional, hiring manager, or team leader looking to fill an open IT role. 

Common tactics used by fraudulent IT candidates 

  • Diploma mills that provide fraudulent credentials
    Diploma mills are organizations that offer fraudulent degrees from real or fake universities. They also offer fake transcripts and verification services for these degrees, as well as accreditation services that will verify the made-up credentials. These services are often available online and can be used by fraudulent IT candidates to add impressive-sounding qualifications to their resumes. 
  • Imposter interviews
    In some cases, the person who shows up for the job interview is not the same person who was initially interviewed. Imposters may pretend to be the person whose resume was submitted or may even use the identity of another individual with the required skills and experience. This is increasingly common in today’s remote-working world, where a new hire may rarely or never work in a physical office — especially if that candidate is an overseas worker. 
  • Artificial intelligence- and technology-aided interview scams
    With the rise of AI technology, fraudulent IT candidates can now use sophisticated tools to create fake candidates that appear real. These tools can include AI-generated resumes, deep fake videos, and even chatbots that can respond to interview questions in real-time. These candidates can be programmed to show appropriate eye contact, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues to make them appear authentic. 
  • Remote work scams
    Another tactic used by fraudulent IT candidates is to have one person with real IT expertise act as the “brain” for multiple fake candidates who secure remote work. The real IT expert provides technical support to the fake candidates, making it difficult to detect that the candidates are not who they claim to be. 

Additionally, fraudulent candidates who have worked at real positions in large companies may say they performed an IT role when really it was entry-level work in another functional area of the company. They are incentivized because they can make more income in several months through this fabrication — until they are eventually discovered and terminated — than they could have earned in a year at a role appropriate for them. 

We’re exploring this issue in depth to help uncover the challenges and solutions around hiring IT candidates. Continue with the next blog entry in this series, and download our new ebook, “Fraudulent IT Candidates: How to Identify and Reduce the Risks of Costly Staffing Mistakes,” to learn more