8 Ways to Spot a Job Scam

Job Scam

8 Ways to Spot a Job Scam

Job Scam
How to spot a job scam

We all know how stressful job-searching can be. After investing so much time preparing and submitting applications, it can be disheartening to receive numerous rejections. On top of that, there are job scams to look out for. In this blog post we share what you need to know about job scams and how to avoid them.

What is a job scam?

Job scams often involve fake online job advertising which target jobseekers via email, phone or social media. The end goal is to gain personal information from candidates or steal money from them. 

Sadly, job scams are on the rise. According to a survey conducted by ActionFraud, “Over 700,000 jobseekers reported losing more than £500,000 through job scams – a 300% rise over the last two years”. Jobseekers aged 18-24 are more likely to be targeted as they are less knowledgeable about the job market and are often more desperate to find a job. 

8 ways to spot a job scam

1.  The job description is poorly written

If a job description you’ve found online doesn’t look like it’s been written by a professional, be suspicious. Look out for poor grammar or typos throughout the job description and assess if the information is poorly structured. 

Don’t be incited by urgency (i.e apply NOW!!!!). If the description sounds more like an infomercial than a job, it’s probably a scam. 

2. The job description is vague 

Read through the job responsibilities and ask yourself: “Have they actually explained what the job entails?”. Often, job scammers keep the description generic. In addition, the requirements for a successful candidate are usually so broad it seems anyone could do the job. Phrases such as “No experience or skills required”, “No interviews needed” are a red flag. 

3. You’ve received an offer via email from an unknown address

Sometimes, job scams are in your inbox rather than on a job board. Scammers will use real company names in their email address to make them look legitimate. For example, you may receive an email from “gsmith@virgin_media.com”, but the actual email account is “gsmith@virginmedia.com”. Often, scammers are not that witty and will contact you with a personal email address ending with “@gmail.com” or “@yahoo.com”. 

The body of the email will probably mention that the recruiter has found your CV on a job portal or online. Be suspicious if you don’t recall uploading a CV onto the sites they mention. Remember to check for grammar and vague descriptions throughout the email. 

4. It all sounds too good to be true 

Job scammers will try and make the job sound irresistible. “You’ll work from home, for less than 20 hours a day and earn up to £80,000 a month!!”. If the job benefits sound too amazing to be real, that’s probably the case.  

If you’re directly contacted for a job, job scammers may use tactics to make you feel chosen. They may even tell you you’ve already been selected for the job even if you haven’t been interviewed. If only getting a job were that easy… 

5. The company advertising the offer is not registered 

If you’re reading through a job offer that looks a bit suspicious, check out if the company advertising it is registered with the government. This includes recruitment agencies acting as the middleman. In the UK, all companies need to be registered with Companies House. If you can’t find the company by searching the Companies House website, you may be dealing with a job scam. 

6. You’re asked to share personal details 

Job scammers will often ask for personal information to steal your identity. If you’re asked to share bank details or fill out a form that requires sensitive information, do not proceed. A real recruiter will never ask for this sort of information in the first or second stage of the recruitment process. 

7. You’re asked to pay a fee 

Job scammers will often ask for money to cover fake job-related expenses such as: 

  • Background checks. Including criminal history, credit card history, etc. 
  • Expensive products or software upgrades you’ll need to carry out the job. 
  • Extortionate travel fees. Legitimate companies may reimburse your travel expenses but won’t ask you to pay up front. 
  • CV rewrites and reviews. They’ll mention your CV needs some improving before making it to the next level in the recruitment process. 

8. You’re asked to pay for training

A legitimate employer is unlikely to ask you to pay for training as a pre-requisite for being considered for a job. If training is required before you start work, the company should pay for this.

There are some exceptions for example if possessing a blue card or other health and safety training is a prerequisite but be wary of companies who offer their own in-house training that you are asked to pay for.

How to avoid job scams

Don’t share personal information on your CV. Never include your date of birth, driving license number, full address (your postcode or city is enough), headshot and any other personal information. 

Keep track of the recruitment agencies and job portals you’ve shared your CV with, and make sure you’re aware of their data sharing policies. 

Don’t share any personal information until you’ve met someone face-to-face and have researched the company thoroughly. 

If you agree to a phone interview, make sure the person calls you to avoid premium rate number scams. 

Don’t follow email links, fill out any forms or download files until you’ve checked the company’s legitimacy. 

A simple Google search can often reveal if you’re dealing with a job or employment scam. Type in the name of the company and job title followed by ‘+ job scam’ or ‘+ employment scam’ or ‘+ fake job’ and chances are, if you’re dealing with a scam you will discover victims sharing their experience.

No matter how desperate you might become while looking for a job, you need to make sure you trust the person you’re sharing your information with. No job is worth risking your personal safety and security for or handing over money even before you’ve started work.

Lisa LaRue is a registered Career Coach at CareerWorx with more than 20 years’ experience helping people plan, manage and find happiness in their careers.

Lisa LaRue
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