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Would you fall for a job scam?

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Scam emails are part of digital life nowadays, and many of us are wise to the warning signs. Chances are, at some point someone has emailed you asking for money, claiming to be stranded in a foreign country. Or you’ve been surprised to learn you’ve won first prize in a competition - as long as you provide your bank details.

But if you haven’t heard of job scams - in which someone poses as an employer offering you a non-existent job to extract money from you - you could be a fraudster’s easiest target.

Approached out of the blue

Perhaps you’ve been contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be a recruitment agent, keen to hire you for a job without an interview. Or browsing an online site, you’re attracted by the promise of a jaw-dropping salary next to three magic words ‘No experience necessary’.

You might be asked to pay a registration fee, or if the job is abroad, be asked for an accommodation or travel deposit. Or even to provide your bank details to set up salary payments in advance.

Wising up to job scams

Sometimes when you’re looking for work it might be tempting to jump at the chance of a job offer - even if there are certain parts of the whole thing that don’t seem quite right.

But job scams (also known as employment fraud) are a growing problem in our hands-off digital age. A recent survey showed that nearly half of candidates who’d been targeted had handed over up to £2,600 to scammers. Yet worryingly, 72.1% of job seekers said they wouldn’t actually be able to recognise the signs of a scam.

Warning signs

At HR GO we see how hard our job-seekers work to land roles. From writing the perfect application letter to preparing for an interview - and everything in between - it can take immense effort and time. We feel strongly that more needs to be done to raise awareness of bogus job scams so fewer candidates get exploited.

Here are some warning signs to look out for to make yourself scam-proof:

  • Recruitment emails sent from personal email addresses, for example @hotmail.com or @gmail.com. Legitimate recruiters are far more likely to send messages from addresses with registered domains, like ours at @hrgo.co.uk.
  • Typos and poor grammar in emails or online job questionnaires. Any recruitment company worth their salt will only release messages and communications that read professionally.
  • ‘No experience necessary’ in the job title. While it’s true that some starter roles don’t call for previous experience, flagging up this fact so prominently might be a sign of a scam.
  • Salaries that sound much too high for the role. The old adage applies here: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Either no interview, or if you need to call a premium rate phone number to be interviewed.
  • Needing to pay for a ‘CRB’ check. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was replaced by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in 2012. According to the National Crime Agency, ‘If you are asked to pay for a CRB check, it is unlikely to be genuine.’

More information?

You can read more about avoiding job scams at SaferJobs. Meanwhile, if you’ve been approached by a so-called recruiter you feel is a scammer, please do report it to the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre at Action Fraud. Not only will you be to helping to stop dodgy practices but you’ll be preventing other candidates like you being exploited.

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