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Reports of employment scams rise 300% in past year

  • 72% of job hunters admit they don't know and wouldn't recognise the signs of a job scam
  • Job seekers urged to research offers thoroughly before responding
  • 1,241 reports of fraudulent job offers between 2015-16
The City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service and SAFERjobs, is now urging workers to protect themselves by checking any employment letters for indicators that the job offer may not be genuine after it’s revealed that reports of employment scams to SAFERjobs has risen by 300%.

Spot the signs

SAFERjobs received 380 reports of fraudulent job offers between September 2014 and September 2015, but this jumped to an alarming 1,241 between the same period this year. Job seekers are warned to be cautious of fraudsters who send bogus employment offers which later request fees for non-existent services. A survey of 2,000 workers conducted by CV-Library found that over 72% of job hunters admitted they do not know and would not recognise the signs of a job scam.

Recent fraudulent job offer letters claim that the recipient has been successful in applying for a role and they must reply to the job offer within a short time period. The fraudsters then get in touch to make arrangements. If the job is abroad, they will talk about arranging travel, accommodation and visas. The letter recipient will be referred to an agency with a bogus website to give it credibility. The agency is supposed to help with these arrangements for a fee.

Having paid one fee for services such as visa administration, the agency will then introduce another fee that has to be paid, perhaps for an accommodation deposit. In reality, the fraudulent agency makes none of these arrangements.

In addition, the fraudsters may also ask for bank account details to set up salary payments. They will use these details to steal money from the account.


Protect yourself

Don’t pay the employer an advance fee for DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks or other checks, until you have carried out thorough and independent research to ensure that they are a legitimate company.
• The fee requested does not only have to be for ‘checks’. Other examples include training and, of particular relevance to international job seekers, visas, insurance, or travel services.
• Check that the advertisement is genuine. Search for the website or reviews of the company using a relevant search engine. Do not rely on links provided in emails received from employers.
• Be suspicious if the employer is contacting you using a non-business, generic email address (such as Gmail or Yahoo mail) and/or if the job description is poorly written.
• Avoid calling a phone number for an interview, as it could be a premium rate phone fraud. The interviewer should call you. However, as a last resort check the interview number is genuine by calling the company’s head office or main switchboard phone number from their official website.

Deputy Head of Action Fraud Steve Proffitt said: “As online recruitment websites continue to grow in popularity, job seekers are finding themselves exposed to scams every day which are getting harder to spot.
“We are urging people to protect themselves by researching job offers thoroughly before responding and being suspicious of any fees that are requested.”

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Miles, from the Metropolitan Police FALCON Unit said: “Recruitment fraud is particularly cruel because it is targeted at individuals who are out of work and genuinely seeking re-employment.
“The Code of Conduct has been designed to raise awareness as well as providing more protection to job seekers and I would strongly urge job boards and recruitment companies to adopt it as business as usual.”

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gould, from the Metropolitan Police FALCON Unit said: "Recruitment companies are an attractive target for fraudsters. Companies should be aware of the threat of fraud and make sure appropriate due diligence is taken to protect their business. Safer Jobs is a fantastic resource and I would encourage recruitment companies to sign-up with them and protect themselves from the threat of fraud."

Keith Rosser, Chair and Company Director of SAFERjobs, said: "SAFERjobs provides a free service to job seekers to ensure a safer job search. We encourage all job seekers to use the free resource at and see which recruitment organisations are committing to protecting the welfare of job seekers and agency staff. We ask all organisations advertising jobs to commit to protecting job seekers and agency staff by supporting the SAFERjobs campaign".

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by visiting the website. For free, expert advice on how to safely apply for jobs online, visit the SAFERjobs website.

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