Need a job reference? Hire a liar

As the long-term unemployed get desperate, a professional deception industry has sprung up to help. Is it legal?

By Jason Notte Jul 17, 2013 3:33PM
Dishonest man (© Image Source/Corbis/Corbis)Are you easier to read than "Green Eggs and Ham?" Is your poker face more like an Uno face?

If that's a yes and you need a "sick" day or a reference that will actually say nice things about you instead of exposing you as the slacker you are, it may be time to hire a professional liar. CNNMoney recently profiled one provider of such services, Minnesota-based Paladin Deception Serices, and discovered that not only are professional liars getting clients days off and convenient alibis for engaging in affairs, they're also getting folks hired.

While the site reported that Paladin isn't registered in Minnesota, wouldn't provide tax documents to prove its legitimacy and had its Facebook page pulled in May for being "inappropriate and misleading," it's theoretically part of a growing industry., for example, offers fake references for job seekers starting at $65. The Reference Store and Fake Your Job advertise similar services.

If Paladin is to be believed, job seekers account for more than 60% of the firm's monthly clients. It's no wonder, in an economic climate where the official unemployment rate still hovers above 7% and the long-term unemployed have either fled the job market or had their unemployment benefits cut.

Just be prepared to go all-in on the lie because it gets intricate. A client has to place a fake company on his resume as his last place of employment, has to consult with the fibbing service about his job history and the details of the job he's applying for and set up a contact number and e-mail address for the fake job. After the lie-addled phone call to the "reference" takes place, the client gets a transcript of the call just in case details are called into question later.

Keep in mind, lying on resumes and conjuring references cost former Yahoo chief executive Scott Thompson and RadioShack CEO David Edmondson their jobs. Paul Evans, a partner at law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius' Labor and Employment practice, insisted to CNNMoney that such candidates would "spend their entire career looking over their shoulder."

But they may also run afoul of state laws prohibiting the impersonation of others or the interference in an employee-employer contract. That may result in not only a firing, but charges against the company that did the lying.

Still, in the current job climate, such a lie could be just the advantage a job-seeker needs to get him or her back to work. Just remember that the same serial transparency that leads a person to hire a lying pro would still be a detriment when it comes time to cover the tracks.

More on moneyNOW

Jul 17, 2013 3:53PM

It is truly a who you know world, not a what you know world. 

Jul 17, 2013 5:31PM
Many job seekers have placed fake companies on their resumes. The reason why, is that employers still stubbornly cling to the idea that a person should not have "gaps" on their resume. But the fact is, most workers today do have gaps.  Employers need to get real, get past the "gap" issue and look at the worker's skills and abilities instead.
Jul 17, 2013 4:26PM
I never checked a reference. I talked to former employers of potential hires off the record. Most of us who hired know the drill and I won't go into detail on how it's done. References are outdated as far as being used and people only put down their friends for a good reference anyway. The author of the article has obviously never hired anyone although it's obvious MSN was foolish and hired this person.
Jul 17, 2013 3:56PM

Finally there is a career path for Regal Man......... Professional Liar


It will be good to get you off the Federal teat Little Beaver.

Jul 17, 2013 4:41PM

Do you suppose that, on some occasions, both the interviewer and the job seeker are fellow 'alumni' of Paladin?

Jul 17, 2013 5:16PM
i knew a guy that worked for a big chemical plant i know he never went to collage but when he died it said how he was a chemical engineer and was head of his department of engineering his own son said i never knew he had a degree of any kind and his wife said the company never checked he worked for them for 40 years and got promoted many times his wife said he was a good bull shutter and just laughed
Jul 17, 2013 4:59PM

Why do hiring managers believe some prior employer rather than the candidate in front of them.

Your second last landlord is a better reference than your last...

Jul 17, 2013 4:48PM
it doesn't take much to trip up such a house of cards on a resume. people aren't that dumb. it's hard to remember a lie with accuracy. for this to fly, you almost have to have the imagination of a really good fiction writer.
Jul 17, 2013 6:01PM
I got great references and have won awards at work...still can't find a job.
Jul 18, 2013 12:50AM
Vast majority of professional liars are in politics.
Jul 17, 2013 5:31PM
If employers would give references there would be no need for lying.  However, NO ONE does this anymore due to legalities.  It is very difficult to get a reference from anyone.  It is now standard HR practice NOT to give references.  Crazy but true.
Jul 17, 2013 5:21PM
Great entrepreneurial spirit that create jobs and will help keeps Americans employ rather than employers prefer to trust the lies from visa workers from foreign country.!
Jul 17, 2013 4:46PM

Funny stuff:) I guess there's hope for the job market after all:)

Jul 17, 2013 5:07PM

Just tell the truth. 


Lying means you have to remember....

Jul 17, 2013 5:02PM
The fact that this business can operate legally speaks volumes. 
Jul 17, 2013 5:32PM
What's the difference in this and someone lying about their qualifications on their resume? Just because you worked in a auto repair shop doesn't mean you are mechanically inclined if you were the secretary! I feel rather than looking at a resume (which is always full of lies) test the potential employee with their knowledge or skills required to do the job.
Jul 17, 2013 5:44PM
I once left an employer on very good terms for another job.  Apparently, he was furious that I quit and began to give me a bad reference.  I called a reference service to check on things and they played a recording with my former boss who said he was lucky to get 60% out of me on a good day.  What???  What he left out was I had to pick his kids up from school every afternoon and babysit them while I tried to work for two hours every day.  They got into everything and even pulled the fire alarm and the fire company came.  The girls were wild - I loved them dearly, but they really did interfere with my work.
Jul 17, 2013 5:47PM
All you need to do is hire NAACP they lie all the time and the mr obamma believes them so does the system. Not only do they lie they also start race wars and that's ok I saw it on the news.
Jul 18, 2013 5:00AM
Legal? probably but in most cases either when you are filling out the application online or signing your contract you always agree to some clause in there that says if they find out you falsified any of your information they have the right to can you. Tempting.. but I'd shoot straight with your employer.
Jul 17, 2013 9:18PM
That is probably where Snowden got his references for employment.
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