The Emergence and Rise of Bad Apple Fraud

By Mike Cook, VP Product Management at First Advantage

iStock photo.

Employment-related identity fraud is nothing new, and since the increase in remote workforce following COVID, the employment background screening industry has seen an increase in job candidates using stolen identities in an attempt to gain employment. 

Over the last 12 months, First Advantage customers have been talking with us more and more about a new fraud vector they are seeing. Essentially, the person who interviews and is hired for a job role is not the person who shows up to work on their first day. This phenomenon is called “Bad Apple” fraud, and it seems to be a growing trend across several different industries. 

Anecdotally, customers have told us they believe Bad Apple fraud is “growing” and appears to be a larger concern in the Retail, Staffing, and Business Services industries.

However, customers in other industries have alerted us to this new trend as well. Beyond avoiding a negative background screen, or bad interviewing skills, some believe “Bad Apple” fraud may be used to generate fraudulent unemployment claims. However, we have not been able to validate that hunch just yet. 

To better understand the problem of Bad Apple fraud, we conducted a webinar poll with roughly 100 First Advantage customers. We asked questions related to our customers’ experience with Bad Apple fraud, the perceived size of the problem of Bad Apple fraud, and a question related to their level of concern. 

In the survey, we found a little more than half of the respondents (51.4%) have experienced Bad Apple fraud directly. Almost 75% of survey participants believe that Bad Apple fraud is growing substantially, with 20.8% relating “fast growth” and 52.1% feeling that there is “medium growth.” Not surprisingly, when asked how concerned they are with Bad Apple fraud, 27.1% said they were “very concerned,” with 41.4% responding with “concerned.” Only 27.1% said “slightly concerned, and a very small amount, 4.2%, said they are “not concerned.” 

To help solve the problem of Bad Apple fraud, First Advantage recently announced the release of RightID™.  RightID™ is designed to flag inconsistencies in a job applicant’s identity and leverages responsible generative AI and machine learning to help recognize potentially fraudulent applicants in real-time before a First Advantage background check begins. Learn more about RightID™ 


This content is offered for informational purposes only. First Advantage is not a law firm, and this content does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.  Information in this may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. 

Readers of this content should contact their attorney or lawyer to obtain advice concerning any particular legal matter.  No reader, or user of this content, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information in this content without first seeking legal advice from counsel or lawyers in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney or legal advisor can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this content does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, or user of this presentation and First Advantage. 


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