Fake Employment Verification: Techniques & Defenses

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Fake employment verification involves falsifying information on a loan, credit card, lease, or job application to increase the odds for approval or hire.

Fibbing on a resume or loan application is common practice, but recording fake employment information can cost companies financially. It can also be a liability issue for an individual. Fake employment verification methods are serious types of fraud.

Employment verification services can help to determine if someone is inputting fake employment information on important documents. These services double check documents and their sources, and spot potential red flags, often by using a third-party verification of employment.

Recognizing fake employment verification is an important fraud defense mechanism to protect companies and organizations.

Fake employment verification defined

Fake employment verification is a type of fraud that usually involves forged documents.

Faking employment information can include providing incorrect data about the following:

  • Job history
  • Employer
  • Rate of pay
  • Job title and duties
  • Reason for leaving the job
  • Dates of employment
  • References

When getting a new job, loan, credit card, or leasing a property, your employment information is verified. Fake employment verification forges this information for personal gain.

Why people do this

Individuals can tell what seem to be little white lies to increase their value by adding to their job duties, inflating job titles, or hedging on the real reason they left a job. Document forgery also occurs to try and obtain property and services as well as employment.

As many as one out of five loan applications has false claims of income or even uses fake pay stubs for verification purposes.

Some of the common reasons people fake employment or income information include:

  • To obtain loans or lines of credit.
  • For approval on a credit card application. 
  • To rent an apartment, house, or property.
  • For job opportunities.

People often try to say they have a higher income than they do, so they can appear able to manage payments on a new loan, credit card, or lease. Fake employment information can be detrimental not only to the company being defrauded but also to the person perpetrating the fraud.

How people fake employment information

There are a number of websites out there that will create fake pay stubs. These forgeries are easy and quick to make. They can usually be done for a marginal fee and printed out at home.

Mortgage lenders often ask for pay stubs to verify proof of income. Individuals looking to be approved for a loan so they can buy a house or property may forge this information.

There are also many fictitious companies and employers that can be used as a supposed place of employment on a loan application. One of the major lenders in the United States, Fannie Mae, issued a fraud alert listing 63 potential fake employers in California that were used on loan applications. These employers were found not to exist.

There are also companies that provide fake employment verification services, such as falsified information on job duties, work performance, or past work experience. People can also be paid to lie about job history or provide false references.

Fake pay stubs and fake employment information can be very believable. Many fake employers are even listed in online directories, such as yellowpages.com, and have active phone numbers or automated call centers. These schemes can be very advanced, so it is important for lenders to look closely at loan applications for verification purposes.

Risks and dangers of faking employment data

If you provide fake employment information, you are at risk for the following consequences:

  • You can lose your job. Lying on a job application is usually grounds for termination. There is also the potential that if you lie about your job abilities and experience, you may be unable to perform the job duties. Your forgery may be uncovered, resulting in you being fired.
  • You can get hurt or hurt someone else. Depending on the type of job you are applying for, lying about your abilities can be potentially dangerous to you or others around you. For example, if you claim to have knowledge in specific healthcare practices that you do not actually have, it can lead to major medical issues for your patients.
  • Your reputation may not recover. When lying about employment information, you can permanently damage your reputation as well as potentially harm the reputation of your previous employer. It can make it hard for you to find a new job after being fired for lack of trust.
  • You can lose your credentials. If you provide false information about your educational background or work history, you risk losing your credentials completely.
  • You can lose legal protection and the right to sue an employer. If your employment verification is falsified during the hiring process and you later experience discrimination or unacceptable work conditions, you may have no recourse.
  • You risk being sued. You can be liable for a civil suit against you if your actions during a job cause damage to a client or the company. Fake employment verification can lead to an ugly, drawn-out civil suit under which you can be held liable and therefore financially responsible for incurred damages.
  • You can get further in debt. If you use fake employment verification methods to obtain a loan, lease, or credit card, you may be unable to make payments as needed and therefore fall further and further behind financially.
  • You can go to jail. Lying about your job history can come with criminal charges and potential jail time. For instance, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 makes lying about military service or decoration a federal crime.

Fake employment verification also costs the company or organization being defrauded, resulting in financial losses, liability issues, and potential criminal or civil suits in the event of damages to clients or other companies. Ultimately, forging employment information can have serious repercussions for everyone involved.

Detection Methods

Spotting fake employment verification can save companies time and money. To detect this, companies need to know how to recognize fakes.

There are several red flags to keep an eye out for.

  • Employment information seems “off” and does not match up with the person’s profile.
  • Inconsistency in basic information on pay stubs can indicate that the stub is forged.
  • Employer seems not to exist and is unreachable.
  • Pay Stubs are rounded and even, or there are Os where there should be zeros.
  • Tax calculations are wrong.
  • Employer’s location is unclear.
  • Paystubs may lack typical withholdings when they are fake.

A third-party company such as The Work Number from Equifax can help to verify that employment information provided on applications is accurate and legitimate.

Employment verification works to determine if the employment information provided on an application, resume, or other document is correct, valid, and legitimate. Verifying that employment history and information is correct is vital for new hires, for financial transactions such as loans or credit cards, and on rental agreements for houses or apartments.

Companies need to do due diligence checks to identify potential risks and protect themselves from possible fraud involving fake employment verification. This involves evaluating all the available information and documents provided carefully. Call companies listed on the W2, check references, and ask to speak to a current employer.

Loan applications can be long and difficult, and it is possible to make mistakes even when they are legitimate. Due diligence can help to spot errors and differentiate between forgery and honest mistakes.


Fake Pay Stubs Are Tripping Up Income Verifications. (October 2018). Frank on Fraud.

Misrepresentation of Borrower Employment Scheme (California). (July 2018). Fannie Mae.

Stolen Valor Act of 2013. (May 2013). House of Representatives.

The Work Number. (2021). Equifax, Inc.