Study: With Increase in Remote Hiring, Employers Voice Concerns Over Identity Fraud During Hiring Process

October 28th, 2020

Sterling and HR Research Institute Release
“The State of Identification Verification” Whitepaper

NEW YORK (October 28, 2020) — Sterling, a leading provider of background and identity services, released a new whitepaper, The State of Identity Verification. Authored in partnership with’s Research Institute, the whitepaper reveals that a large majority of organizations (80%) indicate it is possible that they have experienced employee or candidate identity (ID) fraud. Furthermore, there are various concerns about the quality and accuracy of employee and candidate ID data.

The study surveyed over 300 HR professionals, representing a broad cross-section of employers that range from small businesses with less than 50 employees to enterprises with more than 20,000 employees.

“This research comes at a pivotal time, as we continue to grapple with the pandemic and adjust to an uncertain future of remote working and hiring,” said Taylor Liggett, General Manager of Sterling Identity.    “Many HR professionals assume that their background provider verifies candidate identity as part of the screening process, but unfortunately this is not always the case. As organizations strive to create cultures built on trust and safety, establishing identity verification at the start of the screening and hiring process is critical now more than ever.”

Among the study’s key findings:

  • The most common reason for identity verification becoming increasingly critical is that technology is making it easier to fake an identity.
  • Many employers have concerns about employee identity verification issues, especially in light of new technologies and the millions of ID theft cases each year.
  • The views of HR professionals underscore the need for implementing an effective identity verification solution as part of the hiring process to catch identity issues early.

“As organizations seek to hire the very best, they need to perform their due diligence, weeding out bad actors and protecting themselves from financial and legal pitfalls,” stated Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of “Identity verification is an important tool for employers to use to achieve this, as well as establish trust early in the hiring process.”

The full 29-page report can be viewed at and includes additional data and analysis, as well as seven key takeaway strategies for organizations to keep employee information safe in the battle against identity fraud.

The study, called “Identity Verification Survey” ran in March and April of 2020. There were responses from 334 participants with 266 responding to every question. The participants were HR professionals in various industry verticals ranging in size from small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to large organizations with 20,000 or more employees. Fifty-six percent of respondents are from organizations with 500 or more employees. Nearly all of the respondents are based in the United States.

About Sterling

Sterling—a leading provider of background and identity services—offers a foundation of trust and safety that spans across industries, professions, and borders. Our technology-powered services help organizations create great environments for their workers, partners, and customers. With office locations around the world, Sterling conducts more than 75 million searches annually. Visit Sterling online at

About and the HR Research Institute’s HR Research Institute helps HR departments keep their finger on the pulse of HR! is committed to creating inspired and informed workforces by maximizing the potential of HR professionals around the world.  Over 1.75 million HR professionals rely on as the foremost, trusted industry resource for education, career development, and compliance (that many people can’t be wrong!).  Offerings include the largest network of HR executives, leading-edge industry research from the HR Research Institute, 13 monthly HR-themed epublications, innovative HR education including 250+ annual webcasts, the most comprehensive HR certification exam preparation program supporting SHRM and HRCI certification, as well as helpful HR tools and legal compliance updates. has the largest knowledge base of HR practices globally and offers unparalleled training and networking for HR professionals all over the world… 24/7… 365 (just in case you can’t get enough HR).  Visit to download research (always free) and to maximize HR potential. #HRResearchInstitute

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.

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