It may surprise many of us to know that scams against job seekers are becoming increasingly prevalent, with Government Ministers estimating that up to 10% of jobseekers may have fallen victim to a scam. Being aware of some of the most common forms of job seeking fraud, will help you to be prepared – and hopefully enable you to protect yourself, to ensure you have a safer, more secure job search experience.
As with most scams, the fraudsters can often appear highly credible. They may put undue pressure on you to act urgently or may have found information about you on a social media site to pretend they know who you are.
There are many different types of employment fraud out there, but here are three common types to be aware of:
- Fake job offers, advising that the individual needs to pay for security checks, online training, visas or insurance upfront
- Requesting you to call a premium rate phone number for an interview, racking up hundreds of pounds of call charges when there is no interview, or vacancy
- Work-from-home scams conning people into money laundering.
So how do you know what’s real, and what’s not? Ultimately, you have to trust your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right after you’ve done your research, it’s probably not worth taking the risk. This can be easier said than done, so to help get you started, here are eight golden rules to help you stay safe whilst job hunting.
1. Never pay any money up front
This is one of the most common forms of job fraud where you are asked to pay upfront for police checks, visas, or training or admin fees.
2. Never call a company for an interview
Most employers will want to call you as they typically prefer not to give out their number. By calling a number you don’t know, you can potentially expose yourself to the possibility of inadvertently calling a premium rate phone number as part of a scam.
3. Things that sound too good to be true, usually are
Unsolicited emails or job adverts offering unrealistic or highly attractive cash rewards for minimal effort, should be approached with extreme caution. Many such postings reference working from home, and some may even request candidates supply their bank or passport details.
4. Never give out personal details that are not relevant to an application process
Never provide anyone with your bank details until you have been through the interview process, met the team face to face and have been offered a role. Additionally, when submitting an application form or completing a CV, you are not legally required to provide information such as your date of birth, National Insurance number or a scan of your passport until you formally take up employment.
5. Do not do everything online
At some point, an online job conversation should lead to a phone or face-to-face interview. Never engage with recruiters, or hirers who provide no personal contact (e.g. offering a job without an interview).
6. Always research the company the job is with
Check landline telephone numbers and email addresses to confirm the job and company are real, and use social media, review sites and other sources to find out more about the firm.
7. Check spelling and grammar
Many online employment scams originate from outside the UK and can contain poor spelling and grammar. If an email or job description contains obvious spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or unusual turns of phrase (such as ‘Resumé’ instead of ‘CV’), be very cautious.
8. If in doubt, don’t take the risk
Like anything on the internet, applying for jobs online should be carried out with a degree of caution and scepticism. Always make sure you are 100% comfortable with anything before proceeding.
Whilst these rules apply to job seeking both online, offline and across any website or medium, if you’re ever suspicious about any job advert or contact related to Rest Less, please email us on [email protected] right away and we will investigate as a matter of priority, even if it’s just so you can be 100% sure before taking any action.
For any other questions relating to job or employment related fraud, or for further information on types of scams or to report a scam, we would recommend visiting the website Safer Jobs, which is a non-profit organisation created by the Metropolitan Police to raise awareness of, and to combat job and employment related fraud.
Did you find this article helpful? Have you or a friend or family member been affected by an employment related scam? You can email us at [email protected].