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Recruitment scams

Employment fraud happens when a fraudster claims to be a recruitment agent, hiring you for a job – which can be in a foreign country - that doesn’t exist.

You place your CV or personal details on internet job sites so that potential employers can see them and, hopefully, offer you a job.

You’re contacted by someone claiming to be an employer or an employer’s agent to say they are considering you for a position. You’re asked to fill in a questionnaire and may be interviewed over the phone. You may also be referred to the employer’s website for further information.

Eventually, you’re told that you’ve been successful and the job is yours.

Once you have received the job offer, the fraudsters will contact you about arrangements. If the job is abroad, they will talk about arranging travel, accommodation and visas. You’ll be referred to an agency that, again, may have a website to give it credibility. The agency is supposed to help you with all your arrangements – for a fee.

When you pay one fee (eg: a visa administration fee), the agency will tell you about another fee that has to be paid (eg: a deposit on accommodation). In reality, the fraudulent agency makes none of these arrangements.

What’s more, the fraudsters may also ask for your bank account details to set up salary payments. They will use these details to steal money from your account.

Some employment fraudsters ask the applicant to pay a fee in order to apply for a job.

In reality, there is no job and any fees paid go straight to the fraudsters. Victims may already have given up their previous job and made new accommodation arrangements.

Are you a victim of employment fraud?

  • You’ve been contacted by someone claiming to be an employer’s agent offering you a new job.
  • You’ve filled out a questionnaire or given them personal information about yourself over the phone.
  • You’ve given money to them as an administration fee.

What should you do if you’ve been a victim of employment fraud?

  • Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud.
  • If you’ve given them any money, contact your bank immediately.
  • Warn the operators of the website where you placed your CV that their site is being used by fraudsters.
  • Don’t give any more money to the scammers. If you have, then call your bank to let them know.

Protect yourself against employment fraud

  • Check any documents for poor spelling and grammar – this is often a sign that fraudsters are at work.
  • Ask the embassy representing the country where you believe you will be working how to obtain a visa and how much it costs. Check that the answers the potential employer gave you are the same – if they’re not, it may be a sign of fraud.
  • Check the official records to confirm that the organisation offering you the job actually exists. If it does, contact the organisation directly through officially listed contact details to confirm the job offer is genuine.
  • Tell the employer that you will make your own travel and accommodation arrangements. Beware if they try hard to dissuade you or tell you that you have to use the agency they refer you to.
  • Beware, too, if the employer or agent provides a webmail email address such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail as a point of contact.
  • For further help see the recruitment industry counter fraud forum website, which provides specific advice on for candidates and recruitment professionals