Beware of Fraud on Job Resumes and Applications for Employment

By: Belle DuCharme, CDPMA, Director of CE/PACE

Résumé fraud or application fraud refers to any act that involves intentionally providing fictitious, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading information on a job application or résumé in hopes of persuading a potential employer to hire an applicant for a job for which they may be unqualified or less qualified than other …(wikipedia)

It would be great if, as an employer or person in charge of employment,  you could believe what people tell you or put in writing.  In today’s world, to get a job, people often will misrepresent themselves and their education and work history.  This type of fraud for a healthcare setting where patients could be at risk is an open door for possible litigation… It is wise to be safe rather than sorry in this situation.

Verify Employment and Education

  • To properly verify employment history as to when to when, ask the applicant about the months in which they began and ended working. ‘2014-2015’ might look to be two years of employment,  but it could be just two months.
  • Verify previous employments in detail. Contact previous employers for verification. Try to verify phone numbers as the true business number because the one on the resume can be faked. The person answering can provide a fake reference.
  • While verifying education and training, verify the certifications as well as attendance directly with the institution.  Find out if the educational institute is accredited and not a “pay for a degree” fakery. Also confirm licenses with the state agencies who’ve issued them.
  • Perform criminal background checks (credit checks possibly too) where appropriate and job related. This is a must for positions of trust and patient sensitive jobs that involve handling money, drug prescriptions and access to drugs or access to PHI of patients.

Most applicants start the recruitment process by sending in a resume by email.  Resumes are then scanned for necessary job skills, educational and licensing requirements and relevant work history.

It has always been recommended that after a resume is chosen for consideration, the applicant is asked to fill out a job application by hand (preferable).  This is then compared to the resume received for any information that is different from the resume.

In this initial process, someone in charge of HR needs to compare the information a person puts down in the application with the person’s resume and their LinkedIn profile or other social media. This is not due to paranoia, it is due to getting the facts straight. People do omit things and embellish roles and responsibilities.  When degrees and licensing are required for the position these embellishments or omissions can lead to fraud for the applicant but can have dire consequences for the practice with an unlicensed, unqualified person in direct contact with patients.

Charismatic applicants can sway a decision by quickly building rapport with someone of influence in the practice thus often casting a false “glow” of trust.  Someone in charge of HR in the practice should put on the brakes and say, “whoa, let’s check this out” because HR must be the “voice of reason.”

Educational verification can be one of the more difficult and time-intensive aspects of pre-employment checks as many schools restrict anyone but the graduate from accessing records and long turnaround times for obtaining diplomas or transcripts.

Information can be found at the National Student Clearinghouse, which provides electronic student records and postsecondary transcripts in the U.S.  Probably a charge as the clearinghouse verifies enrollment and graduation information for students of most public and private U.S. institutions.

Another reliable resource is the Federal Trade Commission site listing resources about diploma mills and phony degrees.

Additional recommendations for sniffing out educational or other types of resume fraud include:

  • Require multiple people in the interview process and then confirming what the applicant said.
  • Checking with past employers to ensure that work history and credentials are correct.

Some people can be very persuasive during the application process making promises to provide necessary information.  Often the most useful and interesting information about an applicant is the information that comes from someone else—work references and personal references.  To get a clear picture it is wise to have three of each work references and personal references.

Proper vetting by the doctor, office manager, HR or person in charge of hiring must include verification of licensing to perform patient care within the guidelines and laws of the state of practice.  What I have witnessed is that seldom do doctors or the person in charge ask for a copy of the license of dental assistants.  Duties they can provide vary from state to state.  The state license board is the best source to verify current licensing and to make sure there aren’t any revokes or suspensions on the license.   Not only do you need a current copy but you must verify the person’s identity on the license and the state that the license was issued.  Make sure to receive a current license each licensing period from all in the practice that must be licensed to work on patients.

Resources for Licensing:   for Dental Hygienists  for Dental Assistants   for Dentists

eAssist Helpful News and Billing Tips; Edition #117


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