Retailers are being advised to be more vigilant when vetting potential new employees after it emerged that the number of applicants falsifying their CVs in order to gain employment has increased by 82% in the past 12 months.

According to a report by the UK's fraud prevention service CIFAS, the tough economic climate and squeeze on jobs has led to a surge in job applications containing serious material falsehoods such as misrepresenting employment history and professional qualifications, and not declaring previous convictions.

Independent retailer Dave Newman, who runs stores in East Sussex, has learnt the hard way. "Following several bad experiences I now take extreme care when assessing new staff, and wherever possible employ people I already know. In small businesses such as mine, accidentally employing a dishonest person can be ruinous. The whole issue of employment is a can of worms," he said.

The 2010 Staff Fraud Trends survey also found that the number of staff who had unlawfully obtained and disclosed personal data such as shoppers' card details was up 62.5% on 2009.