When we think of identity theft, our minds typically go to the culprits opening up credit card accounts or getting loans using another person's information. Identity theft has gone up over the last five years, and according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of reported identity theft cases in 2021 increased more than 70% over 2020.
The FTC reported that they “received fraud reports from more than 2.8 million consumers last year, with the most commonly reported category being imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams.
Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries; internet services; and business and job opportunities rounded out the top five fraud categories.
On June 28 of this year the FBI issued a warning about the increase in reports of the use of deepfakes and stolen Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to apply for a variety of remote work and work-at-home positions. A deepfake is described as a video of a person in which their face or body has been digitally altered so that they appear to be someone else, typically used maliciously or to spread false information.
During Covid many companies moved to remote work for its employees to hinder the spread of the virus. While that has helped the workforce to avoid catching the virus, it has also increased the opportunities for bad actors to exploit the situation.
The fraudulent applicants are going after IT related positions that can give them access to employee and customer personally identifiable information (PII), as well as financial information, corporate databases, and company proprietary information.
When using remote options for the interview process, look out for lip movements, coughing, sneezing, and other such actions not lining up with the audio of the applicant. Paying close attention to what is happening on the screen during the interview process can help to avoid being scammed by phony applicants.
It can be a challenge to find candidates to fill open positions, and employers may be tempted to rush someone through the hiring process. However, this could be a costly mistake if a deepfake applicant is hired.
Not surprisingly, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Brian Blauser recommends that employers make sure to follow through with all of their pre-employment processes such as background checks. When it is difficult to find applicants to fill required positions it can be tempting to skip steps to get someone onboard, but that is a risk that could result in hiring a deepfake employee.
Basic areas of background checking such as social security numbers and/or dates of birth not matching can bring to light potential issues. Typos are often made with this information. Clarifying with the applicant and making sure the correct information is obtained is important.
This is a new area for scammers but is happening more and more frequently. Make sure to complete your due diligence and pay close attention to online interviews.
Additional ASE Resources
ASE Background Screening – Protect your organization from the cost of a bad hire with ASE pre-employment background checking services. Our system is easy to use with simplified applicant entry and integrates with many ATS systems.
Sources: hrdrive.com; mcafee.com; ftc.gov; ic3.gov