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How to spot a job scam advert

Written by: Emma Lunn
The government warns that job scams are on the rise with seasonal job scams up 88% in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has been working with JobsAware and Cifas to understand the impact of scams, and how to avoid being scammed. It says that job scams are predicted to increase again this year, so it’s important to remain vigilant and familiarise yourself with the signs of a potential job scam or fraudulent job advert.

How to spot a job scam

Jobseekers should be wary of a number of things when it comes to job scams. These include:

  • Illegitimate companies or contact details
  • Poorly-written job adverts
  • Suspicious contact details
  • Unrealistic salaries
  • Job offers without an interview
  • Being asked for money

One person who reported a job scam to DBS was asked to pay for a DBS check as part of the process. But after paying for the check, communication stopped, and they realised they had been the victim of a scam.

Another jobseeker came across a job on an online job board, and as part of the application, provided her name, address, and a variety of scanned documents. She was then asked for money, and when she refused, communication stopped.

Identity fraud

Alongside raising awareness of signs of potential scams, the DBS has also looked at how information collected as part of a job scam can be used by scammers. It warned that people fooled by job scams could become victims of identity fraud.

Cifas members recorded almost 158,000 cases of identity fraud in the first nine months of 2021, an increase of 17% compared to 2020, and equivalent to one person every 2.5 minutes.

Mike Haley, Cifas CEO, said: “The pandemic created numerous opportunities for criminals to steal victims’ personal and financial details, including through fake online job adverts. Personal information is extremely valuable to criminals as they can use a victim’s details to impersonate them and apply for products and services such as bank accounts, loans, and credit cards.

“Always take a moment to stop and think before handing over your personal or financial information, or when sharing documents such as a passport, driving licence, or bank statement.”

What to do if you think you have fallen victim to a job scam

If you suspect you have been targeted, or have been the victim of a job scam, there are a number of ways to report this, including via the JobsAware portal. They will investigate and take further action if necessary.

If you have parted with money as part of a suspected job scam, you should contact the police.

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