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How to Protect Yourself  from Fake Job Scams

Employment fraud isn’t a new concept, but there has been a rise in these types of scams during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs or been made redundant because of the pandemic, which in turn has led to a massive increase in the number of people job hunting. And when there’s any opportunity to exploit a large number of people, scammers will be ready to take advantage of it.

Scammers create fake job advertisements and then steal the personal and bank details from the people that apply. This will be in an attempt to steal money, or to commit identity related crimes.

This guide will go through how these scams work and how you can protect yourself.

What does a fake job scam look like?

According to Safer Jobs (an organisation set up by the Metropolitan Police to help combat employment fraud) more than two thirds of us look for jobs online on sites such as Indeed, Reed, and Jobsite.

This has opened a lot of doors for fraudsters as it’s easier for them to simply post their fake vacancies online and let victims come to them, rather than contact victims out of the blue. Some fraudulent listings have been found on genuine and reputable jobs websites which makes them even hard for job seekers to detect.

Fraudsters will advertise jobs that are far too good to be true in an attempt to prey on peoples’ hope, optimism, and desperation when job hunting.

They will promote:
  • Very high starting salaries with opportunities to grow within the company.
  • Flexible working hours.
  • No qualifications or experience required.
  • The ability to work from home/remotely.

Some fraudsters will create entirely fake companies and even websites to match, but some will create job advertisements for already well-established companies.

Recently, fraudsters have been posing as representatives for IQVIA, a healthcare tech company, and posting fake ‘work from home admin’ roles.

Signs of a fake job scam

These are some warning signs to look out for when you’re applying for a job:

A request for payment of any kind

They could ask you to pay a fee for submitting your application, to cover administration costs, to have an interview, to pay for security checks, or to pay for training courses. Any request for payment is a red flag – genuine companies should not ask you to pay for anything in the application process.

They ask for a lot of personal information and/or bank details

When you apply for a job, you shouldn’t be required to give any personal information other than your name and contact details. They will only need further information, such as your address, date of birth, and bank details, if and when you actually get the job. If you receive emails asking for personal information and/or bank details after you’ve submitted your application then this is a big sign that it could be scam.

Unwilling to speak on the phone or over video call

If a representative of the company is unwilling to conduct any interviews over the phone or via video call, or if you’re hired without speaking to anyone at all, then this should be treated very suspiciously. A genuine company would never hire a candidate based on their application alone or without conducting any kind of interview or even speaking to them.

How to protect yourself from fake job scams

Don’t put too much personal information on your CV

Although you want to sell yourself and impress future employers, putting too many personal details on your CV could leave you vulnerable to employment fraud and identity theft.

You only need to include your name and contact details and any further information should only be asked for once you’ve been hired.

Do not include the following details on your CV:
  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • Passport number, driving license number, or national insurance number
  • Any bank details
  • Your weight, height, or eye colour
  • A headshot

Apply common sense to offers that sound too good to be true

If a company is advertising a job that pays far beyond what similar companies are offering for similar roles and claim that absolutely no experience or qualifications are required, you should treat it with caution and don’t jump straight into it. Most things that seem too good to be true usually are.

Do some research if you’re unsure

If you’ve seen a job advertisement that seems too good to be true, and you’re not sure whether it’s genuine, then make sure you do some research before applying.

Look the company up online, especially if it’s one you’ve never heard of before. You can check on Companies House whether a company is real or not. If it’s a well-recognised company, then go to that company’s website and use the contact details on their official site to find out whether the advertisement is real.

Check emails and documents for mistakes

If you have any correspondence from the employer, make sure you check it all thoroughly for spelling and grammar mistakes or for general incoherence. This is a tell-tale sign of scammers.

What to do if you’ve become victim to a fake job scam

If you think that you’ve fallen victim to a job scam then stop all communication with the scammer immediately and report it to Action Fraud, including as many details as you can.

If you’ve given the scammer money or given them your bank details then you need to contact your bank as soon as possible as they may be able to stop any transactions.

If the fraudulent job was being advertised on a genuine jobs website then make sure to report it to the site so they can take it down and hopefully prevent anyone else from falling victim.


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