Fraudulent employees – is your new hire who they say they are?

The news that the NHS had been employing a psychiatrist who had faked her qualifications for over 20 years made headlines across the UK.  That’s hardly surprising when a simple check of Zholia Alemi’s qualifications would have revealed that the word ‘verify’ was misspelt on her letter of verification and that she claimed to be a ‘six years medical trainee with satisfactory grade’.

Even that rudimentary level of due diligence could have saved the NHS over £1.3 million in wages and spared the General Medical Council, which rubberstamped Alemi’s status as a doctor, considerable reputational damage. That is without even mentioning the suffering caused to Alemi’s patients, who may have been detained against their will on the orders of the ‘entirely unqualified’ Alemi.

Of course, not every story will be as sensational as Alemi’s, but conducting diligent pre-employment checks, including of CVs and qualifications, is still vital for businesses to avoid the threat of being defrauded by an unscrupulous employee and new hires, who turn out not to be who they say they are.

After all, in this turbulent economic climate, not properly vetting prospective employees is a risk that most businesses simply cannot afford to take. That’s why careful and thorough pre-employment checks are not only essential to bring peace of mind for companies, it’s also good business sense.

Nor are fake qualifications the only threat facing businesses from their prospective employees. Though it may seem comparatively innocent, past posts on social media can land employees and employers alike in hot water. Running a pre-employment check of past social media use should be a boilerplate practice for firms before making a new hire.

Social media checks can create moral questions, including where to draw the line between an employee’s right to privacy and an employer’s right to protect its reputation. But while such checks should be treated sensitively and carried out according to the law, ultimately the potential fallout is simply too large to be ignored and businesses must protect their interests first.

At best, offensive past social media posts can raise questions about an employee’s judgement. At its worst, it could do serious damage to a company’s reputation and potentially cost them business.

Roger Bescoby, Director of Compliance and Development at Conflict International, added that: Running proper pre-employment checks, including of CVs and past social media posts, should be seen as standard practice. If you think there is anything suspicious about a prospective employee’s claims, it is much safer to check and check again that they are exactly who they say they are, before putting them on the roster. A short delay before making a hire is much better than that fallout to hiring a fraudster.’

If you think an employee or prospective employee may not be who they say they are, or have concerns that their CV is fabricating claims, please get in touch with us at for a no-obligation chat on the available next steps.


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