Police team up with Get Safe Online to stamp out job-seeker fraud

Posted on 3rd February 2015

Derbyshire Constabulary is supporting a national campaign launched by Get Safe Online to help prevent graduates from falling victim to job-seeker fraud.

Hundreds of thousands of soon-to-be-graduates and school leavers will head online to start the hunt for their dream job as their final year of college or university comes to an end.

Police are teaming up with Get Safe Online to raise awareness of job-seeker frauds to help to protect those in search of employment over the coming weeks and months.

According to studies from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, the most defrauded job-seekers in Britain were aged between 18 and 25, with 23-year-olds being the most likely to fall victim to scams when job hunting online.

Detective Constable Julie Wheeldon from the East Midlands Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit said: “If you are newly graduated and are seeking the job of a lifetime keep in mind that not all advertised roles are what they seem. You don’t always have to lose money to become a victim of this fraud. Scams can range from direct financial scams to misleading job descriptions.  

“Employment fraud occurs when a fraudster claims to be a recruitment agency or a company, that doesn’t exist, wishing to hire you for a job. The agency or company will then request fees for administration or for accommodation arrangements should the job be overseas. In reality the job doesn’t exist. Employers should pay you, not the other way round.

“Thankfully there are steps that you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim, such as carrying out research to check that the agency actually exists, and if the job is overseas, ask the embassy about how to obtain a visa and how much it costs. Check this against any information you have already been told by the agency/company. Just remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online, added: “It’s a difficult time for job-seeking students as the statistics tell us that few of them will leave university or college with a job secured. The process of finding work in such a crowded environment can be frustrating and for many, an element of desperation will set in. Unfortunately, these are exactly the conditions that scammers like to operate in.”

Top tips graduates should take when dealing with potential employers includes:

Never part with money: If asked to pay for security checks, visas, training, or anything else, you should research the job, the company, and never use any associated company suggested to you without conducting independent thorough research.

Never take it on face value: Have you received an ‘out of the blue’, ‘too good to be true’ job offer? Be sceptical and ask questions. Be wary of any non-business, generic email addresses (such as Hotmail and Yahoo), poorly written job adverts or job descriptions, and emails or contact at unusual times of the day (unless pre-arranged).

Never do everything online – whilst technology is a great enabler to help people find work, at some point your job discussion should lead to an interview or a meeting. Hiring agents who keep the relationship solely to email must be treated extremely cautiously.

Never fail to do research – find out about the company that the job is with and do your research. Check landline telephone numbers and call the end employer to check the job exists.

Never phone them for an interview – premium rate phone scams are common. This is where an individual calls a pay-for number thinking it’s an interview, when actually they are paying for every minute they stay on hold. If an employer wants you to work for them, they will call you.

Never accept money for nothing – with money mule scams on the increase, beware of any employer promising ‘get rich quick’ or ‘earn thousands working from home’. When cheques begin arriving it is easy to be fooled into being used as a money mule.

Never provide personal details – be suspicious of any requests for personal data ahead of an interview or registration meeting (if an agency). Until you have the job, keep bank details safe and only provide identity details once you have met face to face.

For more information about protecting yourself against fraudsters, call police on 101 and visit Get Safer Online at www.getsafeonline.org.

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.