How to Spot Fake Job References
As job seekers get more desperate for employment, scams arise. Websites like AlibiHQ and Careerexcuse.com are cashing in by offering fake job references.
By Joan Goodchild , Senior Editor
March 04, 2010 — CSO —
There have always been unethical and/or desperate job hunters out there who have used a friend or relative as a reference in order to up the chances of landing a position. Providing a fake job reference that will lie and speak glowingly about you is nothing new.
But a niche business has cropped up that takes that a step further. Web sites that offer fake job reference services are available for any job seeker whose credentials and references don't stand on their own. That's bad news for hiring managers, according to Jeff Wizceb, a vice president with HR Plus, a division of AlliedBarton Security Services that provides background screening services.
"You basically sign up and create your own company that you want to have worked at or create a position at a legitimate company," said Wizceb. "You plug in references, position, salary, all that information, and if an employer were to call the number you provided, these sites will pose as a reference and it would be basically this fake company that would 'verify' the information."
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And these sites are doing big business. One such service, Careerexcuse.com, is no longer taking new clients because of an overabundance of workload. And with this kind of deception available to any one, that means companies checking backgrounds and references can be no more sure the candidate applying for the position previously spent time as a vice president of operations, or as an inmate in cell block nine.
"I think human resources departments may realize these are out there, but they don't realize how prevalent it is," said Wizceb. "With these sites turning away business, I think it shows people are using these services a lot more than what we might think."
Other sites, such as AlibiHQ, go beyond just job background services and also offer fake landlord references and doctor's notes. Wizceb chalks the sites' popularity up to the desperation that has surfaced as a result of the economy.
"I've been in this business for 13 years, I've only seen these sites for about two years. I think it's a byproduct of the economy. As people become more desperate looking for work, and with fewer jobs to apply to, these sites pop up to help them provide reference information that helps them be a better candidate."
How can businesses detect these fake references? Wizceb offers the following tips for folks in charge of hiring: