Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards team is warning job hunters to beware of scam websites offering online training courses for the offshore oil and gas industry.
One victim applied for a vacancy with "First Oil Energy", which presented itself as an up-and-coming company based at an industrial estate in Aberdeen.
With the promise of a future career with what appeared to be one of the North Sea’s fastest growing firms, the victim handed over money for an online training course through the website.
The jobseeker was told he would be offered the post if he finished the training.
A three-figure sum was paid for the training course, but then fraudsters contacted the job hunter to inform him that the fee was incorrect, and the correct amount should be £1,000 more.
Only registered in the last two months
Inquiries by Trading Standards established several websites appeared to be part of an elaborate scam. The websites had been registered in the last two months by individuals who had identified themselves as non-trading UK individuals. Further checks found that much of the website content, including the biographies of the directors and the company names and addresses had been copied from legitimate companies.
Registration information for most websites can be checked through a 'Whois' search, such as the Nominet Whois tool which shows the name and address given by the registrant for websites in the UK domain.
If the website has only recently been registered, or the registrant is a named individual, particularly one who wishes to withhold his address, or declares they are "non-trading" it is unlikely to be a reputable and well-established national company.
Genuine course providers
Carole Jackson, Environmental Health and Trading Standards Manager, Aberdeen City Council, said: "We are concerned that people looking to improve their career opportunities are being targeted by such websites.
There are genuine online learning course providers, and a list of those applicable to the Oil and Gas industry can be checked on the website of OPITO, the industry's focal point for skills, training and workforce development www.opito.com/training-providers or by contacting them on (01224) 787800."
For further details visit the Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards website
Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.