Watch out for fake job offers online
As part of Scam Awareness Month, Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau and Highland Council Trading Standards want to alert young job seekers about the potential pitfalls when applying for jobs or signing up to recruitment agencies online.
Glenys Brown, Trading Standards Officer, based in Inverness explains, “Unfortunately, nationally, there has been a sharp rise in the number of online job hunting scams and the age group most likely to be targeted with fake job offers are young adults aged between 18 to 24 years”.
Recent statistics issued by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (run by the City of London Police) https://www.cityoflondon.police.uk, also show people under 25 are most likely to fall victim when applying for jobs online.
Glenys Brown adds: “Young adults have grown up with digital media and are confident in their ability when using the internet, however, this group is now being deliberately targeted by criminals and unlike other age groups less than 50% of young people are likely to report a scam”. (Source: Citizens Advice).
Typical scammers may also target younger adults and offer to carry out ‘fake’ services for a fee, such as taking money to write CV’s, which are never received or offering bespoke training, that does not exist.
Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau and Highland Council Trading Standards have provided the following guidance for young adults on how to protect themselves, when job hunting online:
- Never part with money. A genuine job offer will not ask you to pay for DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) or any other security checks.
- Never take it on face value. If you have been ‘head-hunted’ with an offer of a job that is too good to be true…….then it probably is! Be suspicious!
- Be wary of emails from generic email addresses (such as Hotmail and Yahoo) which are poorly written asking you to contact them. Do not respond!
- Beware of so called business/recruitment opportunities inviting you to attend a presentation for a fee or claiming that you can earn £1000’s home-working per week with no outlays.
- Do your own research online! Check if the telephone number; email address advertised exists online and check out reviews under the business name; address other contact details.
- Never accept money for nothing! – beware of any advert promising ‘get rich quick’ schemes. You may end up being a ‘money mule’ and an accessory to a money laundering crime.
- Never phone them for an interview – Remember - if an employer wants you to work for them, they will call you.
- Never provide personal details – be very suspicious of any requests for personal data ahead of an interview or registration meeting (if a recruitment agency).
Young adults are also being advised to wait until they receive a firm job offer in writing, before providing personal information such as bank account details. And only provide copies of documentation such as a birth certificate; passport or driving licence when they meet their prospective employer face to face.
Safer-Jobs, (a website founded by the Metropolitan Police) provide free advice to ensure that people have a safer job search. Victims of recruitment scams can also report incidents confidentially through the Safe-Jobs website at: https://www.safer-jobs.com/contact.cfm. Consumers can also use sources such as Companies House https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ and LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/, to find out more about the organisations, businesses and people you are in touch with.
Further advice on your working rights can also be found at: https://www.safer-jobs.com/rights.cfm.
Jill Smith, Caithness CAB Manager said “Employment scams are a particularly cruel type of crime. Remember if you wish to speak to an advisor regarding employment rights or finding a job you can contact CAB at Wick or Thurso, visit our website at Caitnnesscab.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. We are very aware of scams at CCAB and try to keep abreast of all the new developments. Remember, if in doubt do not engage, bin the email or hang up the phone and speak to Caithness CAB and we will advise. And if you want to job hunt you can do so at CAB where supported internet access is available delivered by Ormlie Community Association in cooperation with CCAB”.