Recruitment scams. How to identify fake job offers

Recruitment scams. How to identify fake job offers

Paul Arnesen
November 11, 2022

Avoid falling for a fake job offer.

The job market is becoming increasingly more difficult due to the worsening conditions of global economies.

Organised crime groups are becoming more specialised and professional in their approach as fraudsters get better at impersonating legitimate businesses.

Scammers are taking advantage of those looking for job opportunities by posing as recruitment agents or hiring managers. 

Nowadays, criminal operations run by gangs offer bonuses and extra incentives to meet KPIs.

External perpetrators carry out an estimated 43% of serious fraud.

They are experts at tricking individuals and determined to use scare tactics or sweet talk you into making payments or giving out bank details. 

If you are in the market for a new job or approached by a recruitment agency, you need to be aware of fraudsters and scammers who are hell-bent on defrauding you by pretending to be someone they are not.

Recruitment scams - what is it, and how does it work? 

Recruitment scams or Employment fraud happens when a fraudster is posing as a recruitment agency hiring you for a job in a foreign country or a company such as a large, well-known blue-chip enterprise.  

You are contacted by someone saying they have come across your details and have a position available.

However, none of these job opportunities exists, and the fraudster is simply tricking you into believing you have landed an important job at a well-known organisation.

The scammers will then direct you to a website and ask for a payment which may be for:

  • Sign-up fee to register for the job
  • Administration charge
  • Visas
  • Travel 
  • Accommodation
  • Other paid services, such as CV review 

The fraudsters may also ask for your bank account details to set up a weekly or monthly salary.

Once the fraudsters have your money or bank information, they will disappear, and you'll never hear from them again.

The job didn't exist in the first place, and you've become another victim who may be impacted financially and psychologically by the crime committed. 

The good news is you can protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of fraud & recruitment scams. 

How to spot recruitment scammers

If you're job hunting, you must be aware of recruitment scams.

These scams are designed to trick job seekers into paying for services that are either unnecessary or nonexistent.

A real recruitment agent or hiring manager will never ask you for money.

They are paid by their employer and earn commissions from their clients.

If you're a candidate and have been contacted by a recruitment agent, keep an eye and ear out for suspicious red flags such as: 

  • Requiring payment for registration, administration or other services
  • Making false promises about salary or benefits
  • Asking for personal or financial information upfront
  • CV already reviewed by prospective employers without your permission 

Bogus recruiters will try to:

  • Quote blue chip companies to get your attention 
  • Promise big salaries
  • Be super nice
  • Use forceful tactics

Always pay attention when a recruiter you don't know contacts you out of the blue and speaks about a job offer that rings alarm bells.


How to protect yourself

You can do a few things to protect yourself from recruitment scams.

First, do your research. Make sure you know who you're dealing with.

Second, be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't. Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

  • Never give out your bank details. 
  • Never make a payment to a recruitment consultant or on a third-party website.  
  • Do not give away sensitive information about yourself 
  • Redact your address, age and date of birth on your CV
  • Ask how your personal data is being processed and used
  • Ask for the hiring manager's name, and job title 
  • Research the recruitment agency, including the owners & employees 
  • Contact the employer to verify the position 
  • Only work with reputable recruitment consultants 

Following the above recommendations can significantly reduce the risk and likelihood of becoming a victim to scammers. 

How to report scammers

If you think that you may have been a victim of a recruitment scam, there are a few things that you can do: 

  • Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to the Police
  • If you’ve given them any money, contact your bank immediately.
  • Warn the operators of the website where you placed your CV that fraudsters are using their site. 
  • Warn others such as family, friends, LinkedIn members etc. 
  • Report the fraud to organisations that expose fraudsters and research criminal gangs.  

Be vigilant when you are contacted by an unknown recruitment agency or hiring manager. 

Protect your personal information, and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Stay safe, and good luck job hunting!

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