Fake CRAs

Do Fake CRAs Really Exist?

I spoke at one of ACRP’s global conferences on the subject of Fake CRAs. I was surprised at how many hiring managers and sponsor representatives do not believe applicant fraudulence exists. My goal today is to reveal the breadth and depth of candidate fraudulence within the clinical research industry. The data we have gathered is startling.

When we first started noticing the trend of fraudulence, we identified that approximately 21% of our candidate pool had falsified all or part of their credentials. Currently (2023), my team estimates that over 40% of applicants who apply are fraudulent.

I should note that I am speaking about true applicant fraudulence…not just the mere embellishment of qualifications.

Embellishment vs Fraudulence

How long do you feel CRA candidate embellishment has been going on? I suspect that candidates have been embellishing their skills and achievements as long as the resume has been in existence.  What about the act of candidates stretching their employment dates or tweaking their titles? Likely the same.

According to Forbes, Leonardo DaVinci is credited with creating the first resume in 1482. While DaVinci already had a strong reputation in the art world, he completely left his contributions of two Madonna paintings as well as the Annunciation off of his resume.

Why? Because he wanted be hired as the Director of Festivities in Milan.  Therefore, he instead stated that he had an aptitude to ‘make covered chariots, safe and unattackable…”


Career Builder conducted a survey showing that 75% of Hiring Managers have caught a candidate lying on a resume. This was almost a 20% increase from their previous report showing 58% candidates had been caught in a lie.

The Society for Human Resource Management published results from a survey where they stated 85% of the 4,000 survey respondents uncovered a lie on a candidate’s resume or job application during the screening process.

Do Hiring Managers Care if Candidates Lie?

Want to know something that is even more frightening?  According to Forbes, 40% of Hiring Managers said they would progress a candidate through the hiring process even though they caught them in a lie and 7% stated they would still hire the candidate if they liked them.

Fake CRAs

In a true definition of fraud, candidates embellishing skills or stretching their dates could be classified as fraudulence. We agree that embellishing one’s credentials is wrong, however this type of embellishment is not what we would use to classify someone as a Fake CRA or Fraudulent Candidate.  We define applicant fraudulence as someone who has completely falsified all or part of their credentials such as providing falsified resumes, fake degrees or fake references.

Over the next three parts of this series I am going to address the three most commonly asked questions regarding the identification of these phony CRAs.