Recruitment Fraud – How to Avoid Being Scammed

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With the unemployment chaos and hardship brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, fraudsters are targeting vulnerable job seekers who are looking for work. Scammers will take advantage of every opportunity they can find, and the on-going pandemic has created a perfect storm for fake job scams to thrive. This scam has been so rampant that is has prompted some big brands to go as far as releasing public announcements stating that they never ask for money during their recruitment process.

Read on to recognize how this cruel scam works so that you know how to prevent yourself from becoming another victim of a recruitment scam.

How do fake job scams work?

Recruitment scams make it appear as if you’re being offered a job role. But in reality, there is no job, and the scammers are simply trying to get at personal information that you as a job seeker would freely provide to prospective employers. These include your full name, proof of address, social security number/national insurance number, bank details and copies of your passport. The scammers can then use these credentials to assume your identity and raid your bank account, apply for personal loans and mobile phone contracts or set up fake businesses in your name.

Recruitment scams are generally well organized and sophisticated, often using fake recruitment agencies and conducting telephone and video interviews with applicants. Some job scams even go as far as offering you employment. This can make it difficult to spot a fake job offer until it’s too late.

A fake recruitment scam typically begins with scammers flooding the jobs market with fake advertisements targeting people who are looking for work. You may discover several enticing job offers on the largest and most rusted job sites such as Indeed, Reed, CV-Library or LinkedIn. And even though they might establish fake companies to facilitate the scam, scammers can also spoof real companies and steal the identities of HR managers and recruiters to make their scam appear as authentic as possible. So, just because you find an enticing job offer on a big job site doesn’t mean that the offer itself is genuine.

Some recruitment scams also involve getting you to pay for fake online training to improve your CV so that you can be considered for the role. These bogus courses may look like they were put together by professional organisations, and you may even be provided with a certificate when you complete the course. In addition, you might be asked to complete a bogus background check that costs £50.  

What to look out for:

Fake job openings can sometimes be hard to spot. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a recruitment scam. Before you apply for any ‘hot job’, review the following warning signs that might indicate that the job offer is actually fake.

Does the company have a professional website?

Never assume that a job is legitimate just because the ad for the job is on a well-known platform. If you come across a job listing that looks very enticing, take the time to research the company before you apply. Start with the company’s website. If they don’t have one or the site is unprofessional or thin on content, consider that a red flag. A genuine company will have professional-looking website with real information about the company.

Look up the WHOIS information on the website to find out how old it is. If the company was only launched a few months ago, consider that another major red flag. Does the company have an active social media presence with genuine followers? If the company is not present or active on social media, it is probably safe to conclude that you’re actually dealing with a job scam.

Does the job offer sound too good to be true?

Steer clear of job listings that offers you above average income for part-time hours or where the qualification requirements are very low. Job scammers often list job requirements that are very simple to get as much interest in the role as possible. When searching for a job in your field, you should have a clear idea of the average salary your job pays, so you should be able to tell when a salary is unrealistic. If the pay rate is far higher than you would typically earn, consider this to be a major red flag. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, there’s every chance that it is.

Check for grammar and spelling

Genuine businesses employ professional writers, and their job descriptions are always carefully worded and written with attention paid to things like punctuation, grammar and spelling. If the job requirements or description is poorly worded, vague, or is littered with capitalization, spelling and grammatical errors, consider these to be a big warning sign that the job is probably not real.

They ask you for money or confidential information
Legitimate businesses will never ask you for confidential information or to pay for something as part of the application process. On the other hand, job scammers often ask for bank account details, national insurance numbers and other confidential info as part of an elaborate scam.

If the job is a sensitive role in that it involves working with children or vulnerable people, you’ll be required to complete a DBS check. But before you do so, ensure the website is listed here: dbs-ub-directory.homeoffice.gov.uk/.  If you are required to take a course prior to starting work, verify that any course you are asked to take is provided by an accredited firm on nmj.cipd.co.uk/qualification-finder.

They offer you a job right away.

If a company contacts you out of the blue and wants to hire you right away based on your CV which they found online, you should be very wary of that job offer. Legitimate companies will always have a formalised procedure which involves at least a formal interview. You should be wary of any vacancy that offers a job without an interview process, as it is likely to be fake.

For more information on how you can protect yourself from recruitment fraudsters, visit: www.safer-jobs.com

If you have been victim of recruitment fraud, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Have you been a victim of a fake job scam? Please share your story in the comments.

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