Job scams are targeting students and graduates: keep safe online

publication1 Careers blog written by Mandy Simmons, Careers Information Officer

We first posted this blog in April 2015 but since then scams have continued to grow and many particularly target students and new graduates. Read our updated blog below – and keep safe online.

What is a job scam?

“A job scam occurs when a scammer poses as an employer or recruiter, and offers attractive employment opportunities which require that the job seeker pay money in advance. This is usually under the guise of work visas, travel expenses or background and or credit checks that are required for the job.

When applying for jobs online take care not to be caught out by fraudsters who trick you into paying for something that doesn’t exist. If something seems to be too good to be true – offering large rewards for little effort – chances are it is! Scams come in many different guises and the people who carry them out are always looking for new ways to make easy money

Here are our top tips for what to look out for:

  • Any organisation that asks for money for training materials, certification, accreditation or similar to secure a job are likely to be scamming you – no reputable agency will require you to pay in this way to be placed in work
  • Opportunities which state “no experience necessary” combined with a large salary, should ring alarm bells. Likewise, an employer who is not interested in your skills and experience should be treated with caution
  • Do not include unnecessary personal details on any CV you post online. There is never any need to include your NI number, your date of birth or even your full address on a CV – this information can be a gift to identity thieves
  • Never give details like your bank account, NI number or passport number to any employer unless you are sure they are genuine. This information should not be asked for in the early stages of a job application, not should it be asked for by email. These can be supplied once you’ve been appointed and are sure the opportunity is genuine
  • If you get an unexpected email from a company about a job you can’t remember applying for – be careful – especially if they seem to be offering you a job straight away. It is a good idea to record details of all vacancies you apply for so you are less likely to be caught out
  • Think about how the company communicates with you – do emails contain poor spelling or grammar, are their email/website addresses genuine? Do they have a landline telephone? Did you have a proper face-to-face interview before being offered a job?
  • Are you being asked to ring a premium rate phone number for an interview?
  • If you have any suspicions about a job/agency/recruiter you see online do some research. Come and talk to staff in Careers if you need help. Search online for mentions of the company, type “name of the company + scam” into Google and see what comes up, check student forums to see if anyone else is talking about them or has experienced problems.

Students and graduates in particular should be wary of CV writing scams – some fake online job adverts are actually used to target applicants with expensive CV writing services. If you have applied for a job online and then get an email offering to rewrite your CV for a cost of several hundred pounds to give you a great chance of getting the position, be wary. We have lots of free CV support available to you online or face to face – and this support continues for as long as you need it after graduation.

Money laundering  – this scam involves asking you to transfer money to accounts overseas –  it seems like an easy way to make some extra cash – but what you are actually doing is laundering money on behalf of criminals,  and there are very  serious legal consequences if you are caught.

If the worst happens and you are scammed make sure you report it to Action Fraud. Please let us know too and we can do our best to get information out to students so others are not affected.

The SaferJobs website has lots of great advice and information about the latest online scams to look out for.  Come and talk to us in Careers if you need advice.