Daily Telegraph Claims Job Scams in Top 10 Scams to watch out for in 2014
This increase in job scams is sadly a pattern widely seen by SAFERjobs (www.safer-jobs.com), a non-profit joint law enforcement organisation set up to tackle job scams (http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2014/01/proactive-approach-required-to-combat-employment-fraud-says-rosser/). Working in partnership with the recruitment industry, SAFERjobs helps to educate and share fraud information with the aim of developing company's fraud defences and helping job seekers to be more forearmed. SAFERjobs are fortunate in that they work closely with the National Crime Agency (formerly the Serious Organised Crime Agency) and the Metropolitan Police.
The National Fraud Agency (NFA) defines ‘employment fraud’ as fraud which happens when a “fraudster claims to be a recruitment agent, hiring for a job…”. Employment fraud is more generally known as job fraud or job scams and is a wide-ranging phrase to cover all fraud aimed at job seekers: including premium rate phone scams (on the pretence of a telephone job interview), advance fee fraud (any kind of payment upfront for work), ID theft, phishing, and even a facilitator for boiler room scams and trafficking.
Employment fraud, or job scams, are perpetrated by an hiring agent – whether a recruitment company, direct company, or job portal as a recent case involving Universal Job Match highlighted. In this case a suspected conman was able to advertise £34,000 a year vacancies requiring police checks at a cost of £65 each which were paid for by ‘successful candidates’ but never carried out. SAFERjobs is helping the recruitment industry develop its response, but job scams apply in any hiring situation. SAFERjobs comprises both job boards such as TotalJobs and Jobsite, and recruitment companies such as REED and Manpower.
Harrods / Gumtree Case
Towards the end of 2013 the £1 million Harrods / Gumtree job fraud case hit the national headlines. Whilst a recent KPMG report (bi-annual Fraud barometer) shows a downward trend for High Court cases with total losses of over 100k but specifically mention the increase in virtual fraud naming the Harrods / Gumtree case as an example. The majority of job scams are cyber-enabled and include such areas as advance fee fraud, ID theft, and phishing (http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2014/01/job-scams-a-growing-area-says-saferjobs-chair/). In this particular case innocent job seekers applied for roles with Harrods through Gumtree, only later to find they had divulged personal details to a fake, cloned Harrods site.
Since this incident Gumtree have joined the SAFERjobs committee and are now an active part of the fraud response.
BBC Fake Britain
SAFERjobs will shortly be appearing on the BBC on a Fake Britain programme covering "fake jobs" offering general advice to job seekers. The programme is a further sign of the growing issue of job scams and will hopefully further promote the work of SAFERjobs and its members. SAFERjobs were also invited to an exclusive round table event hosted by the Recruiter Magazine in December focused on how the recruitment industry can improve its reputation. SAFERjobs is an example of how the industry is proactively managing the fraud challenge by sharing fraud information, offering best practice advice, and generally raising awareness across both the industry and to job seekers.
As part of SAFERjob’s 2014 objectives they recently moved into social media: and in particular onto LinkedIn through a specialist group sharing information on job scams. What very quickly became clear is LinkedIn is a major facilitator of job scams with reports daily to SAFERjobs of spurious jobs and fake profiles, offering fake jobs ranging from work at home scams to fake senior level jobs. Fake LinkedIn profiles tend to use photographs of young females, one recent example even used the name Nikole Kidmen! In one day alone SAFERjobs received 43 reports of job scams and sadly more and more people are coming forward having been a victim of a fake job scam. LinkedIn appeals to job seekers and is viewed by many as being a safe place to interact. Many fake profiles spend time getting to know the job seeker over a period of time and often send links to legitimate looking websites which ultimately ask for personal details. LinkedIn is a great way for fake recruiters to get to know applicants as so much about the applicant is already stored on their profile.
To try and avoid job scams on LinkedIn it is possible to research the company the recruiter claims to work for using the official website, check the validity of company email addresses, and even to cross-check profile photos with Google Images. Checking there is an actual vacancy and/or checking the LinkedIn recruiter actually works for the company are very sensible ways of preventing job scams. Any work at home, get rich quick, too good to be true scenarios should be treated with extreme caution.
Another key focus for 2014 for SAFERjobs is reaching out to students: the job seekers of the future. SAFERjobs have recently published an article across many UK further education establishments aimed at helping students protect themselves from future job scams. In this article some key areas to look out for are outlined, these are summarised below (http://www.e4s.co.uk/blogs/jobs/leading-the-fight-against-student-jobs-fraud/#!).
1. Do your research
Whilst technology is a facilitator of job fraud, it is also a great way of researching the job context. Organisations can be checked through Companies House, individuals can be viewed through social media, and jobs can be checked with the end company. Telephone numbers and job details can be verified using the official company website.
2. If working with a recruitment agency: use an accredited one
The REC and APSCo offer a complaints route if working with an agency, so it's best to use an accredited agency.
3. Face-to-Face Contact is Always Best
Be wary of purely email and telephone contact. Premium rate phone cams are also prevalent, so if you are asked to dial a number or an interview: don't! A genuine recruiter (agency or hiring company) will do more to persuade the job seeker to join them.
4. Request for Information or Money
Always protect your own personal details and never part with money in advance. Advance fee fraud and ID fraud re he two largest job scams currently in circulation.
5. If it looks too good...
Earn cash from home, earn good money doing just a few hours a week, earn money simply for your opinions, get rich quick...all these should sound the alarm bells!
For more news and advice, and to report any job fraud, please view our website at www.safer-jobs.com. SAFERjobs Chair, Keith Rosser, will also be speaking at the Recruitment International conference on February 5th in London, UK.