Careers Service

Identifying Fake Jobs

Identifying Fake or Scam Jobs

When it comes to applying for work online, there are some general principles to follow to ensure you don’t become the victim of a scam.

Unfortunately, from time to time vacancies are advertised online with the intent of acquiring your personal or financial information to be used in a fraudulent manner. Here are some basic guidelines to help you identify these opportunities.

The advert

If the advert looks and sounds unprofessional, contains poor spelling and grammar or if the contact details don't match the company name (for example, using a gmail, hotmail or yahoo email address), you may want to contact the Careers Service for advice.

Check the company's website, if it has one, for a landline phone number and give them a call to make sure the person you are in contact with does actually work for the company.

You can also check that the company is registered with Companies House or for companies in the financial sector check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Pay and duties

If the pay on offer seems too good to be true for the work you are required to do, it probably is.

Be wary of ‘employers’ who ask you to transfer money on their behalf or run shopping errands on receipt of a cheque. Also, if there are significant differences between the job that was advertised and what you are being asked to do, you should investigate further.

The application process

Legitimate jobs will always have a formal application process and securing a role without attending an in-person, or telephone, interview is a very unlikely occurrence.

If you are asked for personal information, such as a copy of your passport, driving licence or bank account details without having met the employer, it is likely that the opportunity is fake and an attempt at identity theft.

What you should do

If you see an advert and you are unsure of its legitimacy, please contact the Careers Service before applying.

If you have applied to a job and the duties change dramatically from the advert or the ‘employer’ makes an offer of employment without having met you, please contact the Careers Service as a matter of urgency and don't supply any personal identification or financial information.

If you believe you have been a victim of a scam vacancy recently based on the above guidelines and have already supplied copies of identification or your bank details, it is of the upmost importance that you contact the Careers Service immediately. We will be able to advise you on your next steps and help you get in contact with the relevant people and organisations.

SAFERjobs is a non-profit, joint industry and law enforcement organisation working to combat job scams - visit their website for information on common scams and to get free, expert advice for a safer job search.

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This article has been reproduced with kind permission from Brunel University, London.