More than two-thirds of us now go online to look for employment, according to Safer Jobs – an organisation set up by the Metropolitan Police to help combat employment fraud.
This has opened the door to fraudsters. Fake job adverts are on the rise, with Action Fraud reporting an increase of 300% in the past two years.
This is an issue that we have experienced recently, and the same fake advert scam has been running rife throughout the recruitment sector in the last few weeks.
This particular scam involved a fake interview for a fake job with a scammer posing as a Consultant who would then try and obtain payment for services, or get as much data from candidates as possible.
We wanted to pull together some tips on spotting fraudulent adverts, how to protect yourselves and what to do if you’ve become a victim of a scam.
What does a job scam look like?
Fake advert scams:
- You are asked to send your CV to an email address in addition to applying for the role
- You may then go through a seemingly real interview process, during which the “Recruiter” will try to obtain personal details from you or payment for services.
- You’re asked for money by fraudsters to write your CV or carry out security and police checks
- You’re asked to pay upfront for expensive training programmes, remote working insurance, equipment, or travel-agent fees for overseas travel.
Premium-rate phone scams
- As the potential candidate, you call a number assuming you’re going to have an initial phone interview, but you’re kept on hold for a long period of time. In some cases, job seekers will be duped into going through a fake interview on the phone, which could last up to an hour at a cost of hundreds of pounds.
- Fraudsters may also ask for your bank account details to set up salary payments. They can then sell these details onto cybercriminals.
What shouldn’t I put on my CV?
While you will want to sell yourself and impress future employers/recruiters, providing too much personal information could leave you vulnerable to scams.
Too much personal information could lead to identity theft, where fraudsters can obtain your details, steal your identity and spend your money, take out loans or buy goods in your name.
Remember your CV should be a summary of why you’re the best candidate for that job. In most cases you should not be asked to include:
- Your date of birth
- Your full address
- Passport number
- Driving licence number
- National Insurance number
- Marital status and number of children
- Credit card or bank account numbers
- Weight and height
- Hair and eye colour
Who's targeted by job scams?
Alarmingly, almost three-quarters of job hunters admit they wouldn’t recognise the signs of a job scam.
According to Action Fraud, job seekers aged between 18 and 24 are the most likely to be targeted by job scams, losing around £4,000 on average.
Next steps if you fall foul of a job scam
If you think you’ve been scammed, stop all communication with the scammers immediately. If you can, take a note of their details, take screenshots of conversations and report them to Action Fraud.
If you’ve given them any money or shared your bank account details with them, contact your bank immediately.
You should also report the attempted scam to any website where you’ve listed your CV. (i.e. Indeed). If scammers are posing as a recruitment agency, you can also report it to that agency as they should be able to take action to get any imitation email addresses or websites closed down.
How to protect yourselves?
1. Be suspicious if the employer or agent provides a webmail email address such as @yahoo or @hotmail as a point of contact. Please also be mindful they may be using a similar email to a known company (i.e. we have recently had to shut down fraudulent adverts with scammers posing as Cherry Professional with an extra symbol in the email address). If you feel unsure please check company websites and ensure the emails match
2. The Conduct Regulations 2005 prohibit recruitment agencies from charging fees for work-finding services (with some exceptions for performers, models, and sportspeople). Cherry Professional would never charge for work-finding services – if you are asked for money then alarm bells should ring. Stop the process and check.
3. Check any documents or communication for poor spelling and grammar – this is often a sign that fraudsters are at work sometimes using bots to communicate.
4.Check official records on websites such as companies house or overseas registries to confirm that the organisation offering you the job actually exists. If it does, you can contact the organisation directly through officially listed contact details to confirm the job is genuine.
5.If you’re in discussion about a job abroad, you can ask the embassy representing the country where you believe you will be working how to obtain a visa and how much it costs. Check that the answers the potential employer gives you are the same – if they’re not, it’s a strong indication of fraud.
Working with a reputable agency
To further protect yourself from falling foul of these types of scams, you can perform some checks to ensure you are working with a reputable agency:
- Check their Google Reviews
- Are they a member of an industry body (for example, The REC / APSCO)
- Do they have a GDPR Policy on their website? (here is ours as an example). You need to make sure that your data is protected according to the regulations.
For further help go to Safer Jobs, which provides specific advice for candidates and recruitment professionals.