28. May 2009 04:05
Protect yourself- be Internet aware.
Warning Signs- If it looks too good to be true- It Probably Is.
The two most common types of job seeking scams involve getting you to supply your bank details; or getting you to supply your private data so that it can be passed on to unauthorised third parties:
1) Phishing scams- Sites will collect a raft of your details such as your email address, maiden name, security questions, passport numbers etc. Legitimate recruitment sites will always let you know why your data is being collected and will have policies in place to ensure the protection of your data. Look for privacy policies normally at in the website footer. They will also expressly obtain your permission if they intend to pass your info onto any related third parties.
A scam website will collect your details for the sole purpose of selling it on to other companies, most likely wholly unrelated to the recruitment industry.
Whereas a legitimate recruitment site might ask its users whether they can pass their details on to their trusted partners, such as sites offering CV advice or other jobs websites; a phishing scam site will sell your details to the highest bidder, without your permission and without telling you they are doing it.
Sites like this may ask you to provide your details because they have job vacancies available currently, but when you enter your details it says that the positions have been filled. They will then use your information to sell to other companies who might use the info obtained to spam you, or, more seriously, for identity theft.
2) Guaranteed employment for a fee- Scammers have been known to pose as recruitment agencies. They will email you and guarantee that they will find you work, in exchange for an upfront fee. As soon as you have supplied your bank details or transferred the money, you will hear nothing else.
Whereas legitimate recruitment websites may have specialised services that benefit the jobseeker, for which they may charge a fee; such as professional CV writing, a jobs website will never charge their users in order to apply for a job, or guarantee someone work, for an upfront payment.
Overseas jobseekers are a target for recruitment scams as they are asked to pay an upfront fee for ‘visa arrangements’ or ‘travel costs’- which again is not something a genuine recruitment agency would request via email. Legitimate agencies are likely to be registered with the REC; a representative body for the UK's recruitment industry which acts to raise recruitment standards and to enforce certain codes of practice within the recruitment industry. They also offer jobseekers advice on how to keep your personal info safe when job seeking. See the website for more details.
If you see any of the following warning signs- then you need to be aware that they may be scams:
Jobs offering you hefty wage packets for doing minimal work.
Check their contact details. If there is a phone number on the email, check it against the website of the company. Try and speak to someone directly: it is likely that scam job sites will try and avoid personal contact, and if you can’t contact someone via telephone or find a registered business address then be careful. Check the ‘terms and conditions’ or the ‘about us’ sections of a website to find the registered company address. You can also lookup all registered UK businesses that are legally operating by visiting the Companies House website.
You are being offered a job that you haven’t applied for- this is likely to be a scam. If you are applying for lots of jobs, write down all the jobs you have applied for to be sure, don’t get caught out by this common phishing scam.
You receive an email with a job opportunity but it is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors- be aware that this is a common sign of a scam. The odd spelling error doesn’t make you a criminal, but look carefully at the correspondence, judge the content, the spelling and if it all seems a bit fishy... leave well alone.
You are entitled to request references from a company so you can check that they are a legitimate business.
Utilise the power of Google- search for the company who contacted you. Add the word ‘scam’ to your search to see if you get any results. See what kinds of things are being said online- if no-one has heard of them or the things they say are bad- then be careful.
Do not give out bank account details, PayPal account details or credit card numbers to an ‘employer’ over the Internet. A legitimate recruiter would not be charging to hire you, so never transfer money to an employer.
Do not send scans of your passport or driving licence to anyone via the Internet as this is an easy way to induce identity theft.
For more details on scams, visit the Direct Gov Website or visit Consumer Direct.
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