We often share information about common financial scams, like websites selling fake products or phony emails asking for your personal details. But one area often overlooked is careers fraud.
These false job opportunities lure people in with the promise of employment, and then ask for personal details or require you to make payment so that you can progress your application.
With unemployment currently at high levels across the UK, it follows that this types of scam is also on the rise. The increase in remote working and video interviews is also helpful for con artists, as it means that job seekers are less likely to meet their prospective employers in person. However there are still things that you can do and look out for to keep yourself safe.
One of the safest things to do is to apply for jobs directly through the company website, as you can be sure that the information is reliable and your application is going straight to HR or the hiring manager.
Reputable job sites like Indeed and LinkedIn are also relatively safe – although if you have the option its best to go direct to the company themselves. This helps to avoid a type of fraud where the scammers pretend to be from a well-known organisation.
Be wary of head-hunters
The most common type of employment scam comes when somebody contacts you out of the blue saying that they’ve seen your CV and want to offer you an interview. While this definitely can sometimes lead to a real offer, it’s good to double check the details. Consider how realistic the job opportunity is, look for inconsistencies in their email and website addresses, and do some research online. When people come across these types of scam they often share the details online, so you may well be able to uncover it.
Don’t pay to play
Probably the biggest red flag is if a company asks you for money – for instance, money to process your application or to carry out pre-work checks. You shouldn’t be expected to pay somebody for employment, and even if the job itself is real this is a sign that the company is not above board.
More likely though, if you’re asked for money during the application stage, you’ll find that the job (and the company) never really existed. It can be difficult to retrieve money after you’ve willingly transferred it to another account, so avoid at all costs.
Don’t share personal details too early
Some scams involve collecting personal information such as bank account details rather than outright asking for your cash. This can be difficult to detect, as we all expect to hand over a lot of personal data when starting a new role. However the point at which they ask for this information can be a clue: usually, you won’t need to start giving up your bank details or proving your identity until you’ve already been offered the job.
Of course, some scammers know this and get around it by giving out phony job offers to lure people in. This is why it’s very important to do all of the due diligence listed above if there’s any doubt in your mind about a role.