November 10th, 2022 | Sterling

2022 SIA Report Spotlights Growing Identity Fraud in the Staffing Industry

In just a few years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the staffing industry (and society as a whole) has undergone massive shakeups.

Fraud Is Becoming a Major Pain Point for Staffing Teams

SIA and Sterling both have a positive outlook about the future of staffing, although their report also outlines several challenges for HR leaders. Most concerning of these is the recent growth of fraud cases, specifically identity theft.

Out of the 188 staffing companies surveyed in the report, 40% responded that one of their end clients found out that an employee had lied about their identity during the past year. Worse, almost a third (30%) of employers surveyed cited flagrant cases of false identity where an unknown person started work but was not the same person who had completed the pre-employment assessment. This disturbing data only further underscores the risks businesses face, especially as remote positions become the norm in many industries.

Is there a clear way to help protect your company from identity fraud? After all, few HR professionals expect to come face-to-face with a stranger they’ve just hired after running a thorough staffing background check. The report suggests that the answer may lie in debunking some of the misconceptions the staffing industry has about background checks.

What exactly does a background check include and what doesn’t it include? Surprisingly, the SIA report found that nearly two-thirds of respondents said that they incorrectly assumed that their background check provider was also conducting identity verification as part of their standard background check service. Often this just isn’t the case: increasingly, HR leaders should be careful to ask if their provider offers this service and whether it needs to be added to core background screening services. Before committing to a background check vendor, ask exactly which services are available. This information will help you to choose the right partner to help you meet HR compliance and nurture a workplace based on trust and safety.

Remote and Contingent Work Highlights Further Need for Identity Verification

Remote work continues to revolutionize the workplace, and the staffing industry along with it. In fact, Owl Labs recently reports that 56% of companies allow remote work. SIA’s report reveals similar findings related to hybrid work, with 52% of employees surveyed reporting that they worked from home at least once a week.

SIA’s original research also outlines how the rise in remote work has itself contributed to the rise in identity fraud. Indeed, 70% of the report’s respondents stated that they expect instances of fraud to increase with remote work arrangements, along with more incidents of “deep fakes” and similar advanced criminal technological techniques.

This trend has serious implications for HR leaders in the staffing industry. In order to help protect their remote workforce and proprietary assets, more vigilant hiring processes are needed to prevent identity theft and other fraud threats before they can pose organizational risks. Is there a screening service suited to this purpose? Yes: identity verification. By making identity verification the first step of their hiring process, HR staff can more thoroughly vet candidates and help prevent acts of fraud. SIA’s full report showcases data revealing the role identity verification is playing to fight fraud in organizations, right from the beginning of the hiring process.

The staffing industry has had – and continues to have – more than its share of challenges in the wake of Covid-19 and the rise of identity fraud, but there’s also cause for optimism. Identity verification is a leading way businesses are helping to achieve HR compliance and create strong cultures of trust and safety. Discover more about these and other hiring trends related to staffing background checks: click here to download the new report researched and written by SIA and Sterling: “The Future of Identity Verification in Contingent Work: Flipping the Paradigm.”

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.