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30 April 2014

FSB warns businesses to check candidates' references

Reference number: PR 2014 21

FSB News Release
PR 2014 21
Issue Date: Wednesday 30 April 2014

FSB warns businesses to check candidates'' references

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is contacting its members to warn them about the scale of reference fraud directed at small businesses. The FSB and BBC1's Fake Britain cooperated on a survey of 1,800 small firms, which found nearly one in five (17%) had discovered candidates with fraudulent references.

The survey found that bogus references are used at every level of business:
• 40 per cent of dodgy references were for entry level positions;
• 40 per cent were for mid-level positions;
• 12 per cent were for management positions;
• 2 per cent of fraudulent applications were for Director level jobs

The programme will also report that seven out of 10 (71%) of small business owners are unaware of websites which offer to provide applicants with fake references. The FSB is encouraging businesses to be wary of potential fraud and take precautions to prevent being taken in by a scam.
Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
"To see the scale of fraudulent referencing taking place is shocking, as getting the wrong candidate can have a catastrophic impact on smaller companies. With nearly one in five of our members having received applications with bogus references, it is clear that small businesses must be on their guard about this kind of fraud and take steps to check the employment history of candidates."
Notes to editors

1. The FSB is the UK''s leading business organisation with around 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the UK''s Real-Life Entrepreneurs who run their own business. More information is available at
2. The figures are based on a snap poll of FSB members, carried out by Research by Design, between 3 and 9 December 2013 which received 1842 responses. To find out more contact
3. The findings were originally presented in the BBC1 programme Fake Britain which airs at 09:15 on Thursday 1 May
4. Fake Britain'' is an independent production by Screenchannel Television Ltd for BBC1

Media contacts:

Liesl Smith: 020 7592 8128 / 07917 628926
Jemima Broadbridge: 020 7592 8113 / 07595 067068
James Gribben: 020 7592 8121 / 07854 987974
Lucy Bell-Reeves: 020 7592 8116 / 07595 801773
For regional FSB contacts please go to