The recruitment industry has seen an influx in ‘fake jobs’ recently whereby fraudsters are scamming people out of time, money, and information. This can be extremely frustrating for job seekers, especially when finding the perfect role is already hard enough.
According to SAFER Jobs, in 2017, they said they had seen a 300% increase in the last two years alone. Even on some of the biggest, most popular job searching sites they can be found, which can take weeks or months to be detected. This means many individuals are now wasting an incredible amount of time completing an application process with their personal details for roles which simply do not exist.
What is also frustrating for the industry, is that some of the details posted on these fake adverts is that of real businesses, which means many are having to deal with the repercussions of these roles which are not even available.
The types of scams they are enticing job seekers into are money laundering scams like paying fees for non-existent background checks, visas, online training, or insurance and pushing them to call premium rate phone lines for interviews. But, the seriousness goes even further than both financial and identity fraud, as some cases of trafficking and slavery have also been linked to fake job advertisements.
So, with the many that are doing their rounds in the recruitment industry, how do we distinguish what is real or fake?
Are they a recognised company? See if there is any evidence of the company being involved in initiatives such as Trust Pilot or have certificates like SSL. Those who are recognised by these trusted organisations, should not be hard to find, as companies will proudly display it on their site, or like to be displayed on the verified site.
Consider what the proposed offer is and if it is realistic. They will want to entice people to apply with attractive offers, money being the biggest seller. Is the salary realistic for the role? And consider if that level of job would normally be advertised where it is, or whether it has been open for an unusual amount of time or has been reposted multiple times.
If there is anything you suspect, do some research. Is this job advert placed somewhere else? Like on other jobs boards or their official careers page? A lot of organisations will post their jobs to multiple jobs board at a time, so to only be on one is unusual. Also, depending on the proposed size of the organisation, for example, a bigger organisation, having only one open vacancy can be a warning sign. You can always search for their details and contact them directly to check that it is a live vacancy and to see if the details they have provided are accurate. It is also worth checking to see when the company was registered, if it is under an unusual name or address and has been for less than a year.
How much information is provided? Terms like ‘you must have access to the internet’, or 'you must be 18 or over’ or ‘you must have a valid passport' are signs. If there is anything that is missing or looks sketchy, request for a full job description or document to prove their authenticity.
As just mentioned, their careers page is also a good place to look. Do they have a careers website and does the job appear on there? Most organisations have a website or careers site to display their current openings. If you can’t see the job or an equivalent on the careers site, it could be fake.
Have you been sent a job offer which is something you didn’t apply to or is completely unrelated to what you do? A company would not give you a job offer without making prior communication with you. Try to keep a record of the jobs you have applied to if you apply for multiple at a time.
Be aware of any unusual requests. For example, being asked for money, possibly for fees of some kind, like a DBS check. When are they communicating? Was it at an unusual time? This can suggest a different time zone. Note that the only time you should ever need to provide a company with your bank details is when you join them!
Social Media is another good place to look but be aware that sometimes scammers will create corresponding social media profiles for companies and recruiters to look legitimate. Check these profiles are genuine by looking at their connections. If they are established, they should have plenty in the industry. Also, look at how long their account has existed. Does this match up to their start-up time? And what posts and images have they uploaded?
Verify links provided by hovering over them before you click. If the link is a shortened URL (like bit.ly) or it redirects you to an unexpected destination and is not secure, this can be a bad sign.
Check their email domains. Personal accounts such as Hotmail and Gmail are a red flag. Consider if the name looks genuine at first glance. For example, Apple.biz is not likely to be the email domain of Apple inc. employees. They may initially be recognised as a contact name in your inbox, but actually, be sent from a different address posing as someone else. Some scammers may also use the official company name but simply add a hyphen to go unnoticed. Check how professional the email is. Are there mistakes? Does it have a template? Is there an official branded email signature? Is their logo low quality or distorted? And be wary of opening any attachments.
The odd grammatical error and spelling mistake could be expected, but job descriptions should be fairly accurate if posted by a genuine employer. If you see that a job ad contains more than one error, this could be another sign of a fake vacancy.
If you do believe you have come across a fake advert or have been a victim of this behaviour, contact SAFER Jobs who is a trusted and supported government body. This is a non-profit, law enforcement organisation that will see that the fake advert is removed from job boards and can provide you with any further advice. Report a job here - https://www.safer-jobs.com/