3 common job scams – and how you can avoid them

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Did you know that nearly one in three Brits has fallen victim to fake recruitment scams in recent years? 

With Halloween just around the corner, don’t let this shocking statistic spook you. This article will explore the dangers of job scams and provide tips on how you can protect yourself against them.

The too-good-to-be-true offer you didn’t apply for 

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were minding your own business one day and the perfect job offer – with a hefty salary to match – just drifted in your direction? Unfortunately, though, if it seems too good to be true, it’s usually a scam. 

Be wary of agents who call out of the blue suggesting they (or their prestigious client) have found your CV on a job site and would like to offer you an interview straightaway. Be doubly wary if the offer is for a global company with a household name.

How to avoid it

First, check your privacy settings for any job sites you’re signed up to.  

On reputable sites like New Job Today, you can create a profile with your CV/resume and make your details searchable to maximise your chances of finding a new job. But if you’re not actively looking for work, it’s best to turn off this function to protect your details. 

Realistically, jobs with well-known companies that pay an above-average wage are likely to have a huge amount of applicant interest, making it very unlikely that they will need to do external headhunting.  

The inappropriately casual recruitment process 

Similarly to the scenario above, if you find yourself on the receiving end of an unsolicited WhatsApp message from someone claiming to be from a recruitment agency asking if you'd like more details about a legitimate-sounding job, it’s likely to be a scam.  

Often, the message will come from a random – sometimes overseas – number. If you engage, the “agent” will start asking more invasive questions to get you to divulge your sensitive personal information (e.g., home address, NI number, date of birth, etc.) or will request payment to continue the recruitment process. 

The purpose of this effort is to capture your identifying information, which will then be used for fraud. According to Euronews, this phishing scam has scooped up an estimated €100 million from victims around the world so far.  

How to avoid it

Again, unless you've had a recent relationship with a recruitment agency, you’re right to be suspicious of vague, unsolicited opportunities. Only respond to messages you’ve opted into receiving – a reputable recruitment company will have strong data protection policies in place to monitor company communications, especially on messaging software like WhatsApp. 

It’s always a good idea to check that the person who has contacted you is indeed who they say they are – see if you can find them on LinkedIn or their company’s website. But if you’re unsure about the sender, report the number to WhatsApp and the National Action Fraud service.

The dead easy work-from-home job

This last one involves work-from-home job ads (usually with an immediate start) that promise easy and/or unlimited wages from simple data entry or manual administration jobs... as long as you pay an upfront fee for starter equipment or materials that never materialise.  

Since the pandemic, these job ads have increased as more people look for flexibility in their post-lockdown working life and a way of earning extra cash to keep up with increased living costs.  

How to avoid it

Of course, not all 100% remote jobs are scams. In fact, many employers now offer remote working as a standard recruitment tool in roles where it’s possible to do so – New Job Today currently has over 7,000 active remote working opportunities in a variety of different industries. 

If neither you nor the people around you recognise the employer on the ad, check the search engines for online reviews about the company. Chances are, there will be plenty of disgruntled commenters who will shout from the rooftops if it’s a scam. 

Do note that some home-working opportunities might actually be advertisements for self-employed gigs. Make sure you read the small print that explains how you will be paid and who will be responsible for paying things like taxes. 

To make your job search easier, start with New Job Today. Our site gives you access to thousands of clear, legitimate jobs through our powerful search engine. Unlike some job boards, we don’t “scrape” our jobs off other sites – all jobs are validated and guaranteed to be active requirements, giving you the ultimate peace of mind.

Melody Sadé Abeni