Calling himself “Hugh Harben”, the con artist used details and an old covering letter from Smith’s LinkedIn profile to secure a recent telephone interview with Stewart Travel.
The interview aroused the suspicions of Leigh Collis, Stewart Travel’s director of cruise, who alerted Smith after the interviewee claimed to have extensive experience at Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival UK.
Upon reading Harben’s CV, Smith said he was “gobsmacked” to discover it was actually his own – minus his current role.
“I honestly could not believe it – it was just crazy,” he told TTG. “It was ripped straight from my LinkedIn page and [they] hadn’t even bothered to change anything.”
After reporting the incident to Action Fraud, Smith phoned the man earlier this week – posing as a travel industry recruiter – before revealing his true identity and asking him to explain himself.
“He couldn’t describe any of ‘his’ previous roles and pretended his phone was running out of battery when I challenged him,” said Smith. “If you’re going to steal someone’s identity, at least try to do some research first.”
Smith posted on the Travel Gossip Facebook page to thank the Stewart team and alert the industry. He also spoke to travel recruitment firms, advising them to check their databases for potentially fraudulent candidates.
“A few people came forward to say he had applied for jobs, while some had actually interviewed him, so it was definitely worth raising that awareness,” said Smith.
“Travel’s too small an industry to get away with something like this. It’s a great example of how the industry looks out for each other.”